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Gift of 
National Women's Committee 
In Honor of 

Mrs. Rosalyn Shulman 

Life Member - Greater Miami Chapter 


Palestine during the War 






Palestine during the War 


From the Report presented to the Ticelfth Zionist Congress 
at Carlsbad^ September^ 1921. 




I 92 I 



A. 1914—1917. 

/. — Palestine before the War. 


(i) The Palestine Office ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 5 

(2) Immiigration ... ... .,. ... ... ... ... ... ... 6 

(3) Economic Expansion ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 6 

(4) Hebrew Education ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 7 

(5) Public Life ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 8 

n.— Outbreak of War. 

(i) Suspension of the Capitulations ... .., ... ... ... ... 10 

{2) Economic Isolation ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 10 

(3) Self-Help Committees ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 12 

(4) The American Relief Work ... ... ... ... ... ... 14 

III. — Palestine under Turkish Military Rule. . 

(i) Turkey's Declaration of War ... ... ... ... ... ... 18 

{2) Jemal Pasha and his Subordinates ... ... ... ... ... ... 18 

{3) Persecutions under Jemal's Rule ... ... ... ... ... ... 21 

(a) House Searches in Tel Aviv ... ... ... ... ... 21 

(b) Prohibition of National Fund Stamps ... ... ... ... 22 

Closing- of the Bank ... ... ... ... ... ... 22 

Inhibition of Remittances ... ... ... ... ... 22 

(c) The First Exodus from Jaffa ... ... ... ... ... 23 

(d) Trials 23 

(4) Ottoman Naturalisation ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 27 

{5) Military Service ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 28 

IV. — Work of the Palestine Office during the War. 

(i) Preservation of the Yishub ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 31 

(2) The Economic Catastrophies ... ... ... ... ... ... 33 

(a) The Locusts. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 33 

(b) The Depreciation! of the Currency ... ... ... ... 31 

{3) Distress in the Towns ... ... ... .. ... ... ... 36 



V. — End of the Ttirkixli Ride. 


(i) Evacuation of Jaffa ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 37 

(2) The Last Persecutloins in Judea ... ... ... ... ... ... 38 

(3) Persecutions in Samaria ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 3^ 

VI. — Relief IVork in Dainasciis and Constantinople. 

(j) Damascus as Centre for Palestine ... ... ... ... ... ... 41 

(2) Palestine Work in Constantinople ... ... ... ... ... ... J^.z 

B. 1917—1919. 

/. — Tlie Occupation of Judea bv tlie British. 

(j) ITie Position in Judea ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 45 

(2) Special Committee ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 43 

(3) Arrival of the Zionist Commission ... ... ... ... ... ... 44. 

//. — AviaJgamaiion of the Zionist Commission and the Palestine Office. 

(i) Division of Functions ... ... ... ... ... 45: 

77/. — The Ori^anisins: of Palestine Jeivry. 

The Jewish Communal Representation in Jeru.salem ... ... ... 47 

Vaad Hazmani ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. ... 48 

Asefath Hanivcharim ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 48- 


A. 1913—1917. 


(i) The Palestine Office. 

At the outbreak of the war the colonisation of Palestine had just entered on a 
period of soimewhat quickened development. The Palestine Office, which had been 
founded by the Zionist Orgfanisation at the beg-inning- of 1908, had overcome its 
initial difficulties, and was commencing^ to become a focus of all efforts directed 
towards the colonisation of Palestine. Hopes had been entertained of a rapid 
expansion of the Palestine Office, and with it of the w'hole work of colonisation, 
from the Turkish Revolution, which broke out a few months after the Office was 
opened. These hopes, it is true, were not realised. The Young Turks, as it 
turned out, adopted an imperialistic policy, and aimed at establishing a Turkish 
state with the suppression of other nationalities, sO' that the Jews could not look 
to them for fulfilment of their national aspirations. To counterbalance this, how- 
ever, it was soon found that they were just as feeble as the previous Turkish 
Government, and consequently were not able permanently to hinder the progress 
of determined national efforts. In spite of the pronounced nationalist-imperialist 
tendencies of the leaders the officials in the country did not differ materially from 
their predecessors. It was always ix>ssible to get round the individual official with 
the aid of a little artifice. The Turks were far more vehemently opposed to the 
Arabs than to us, and there was actually a disposition on the part of some of the 
leaders to play us off against the Arabs, and on that account to encourag"e oiur 
efforts. The Arabs on their side reserved their whole hostility for the Turkish 
Government, and did not yet display any towards us. Strong- protection was 
afforded to us by the Capitulations. ."Vctivities which might otherwise have met 
with opposition from the Turkish authorities were rendered possible by the 
protectioin of foreig-n consuls. 

A new impulse to the colonisation movement was given by the Vienna Zionist 
Congress in 191 3, which led to a strengthening and expansion of the Zionist 
Organisation in general. At this Congress, which took place just a year before 
the outbreak of war, the conflict which had gone on for years between the advocates 
and the opponents of the idea of immediate practical work in Palestine was amicably 
settled. A ccmplete scheme of practical colonisation was presented in the Report 
of Dr. Arthur Ruppin, who as responsible representative of the A.C. had been at 
the head of the Palestine Office since its inception. After this Congress the vast 
majority of Zionists were convinced that the realisation of the Zionist idea could 
be brought about only bv persistent and self-sacrificing work, and by solid and 
substantial achievements in the fields of economic development, education and 

(2) Immigration. ' 

Progress in Palestine now beg^an to manifest itself in a number of ways. The 
most conspicuous sig-n was the great increase in immig-ration. In the period 
between the Vienna Congress and the outbreak of the war over 6,000 Jews came 
into the country. Not all, it is true, were able to become absorbed in it, and many 
of themi drifted away ag"ain; but a portioin remained and took root. Especially 
notable was the increase in the number of young- men who came to help in opening 
up the country by the labour of their hands. These were scions of the young Jewish 
movement which had commenced with the Russian Revolution in 1905, and had 
become a spiritual power in the Jewish life of Palestine and also of the Diaspora. 
Their settlement was greatly facilitated by the fact that employment of a nature 
suited to their requirements was available on the farms of the Jewish National 
Fund and in the undertakings conducted by the Palestine Land Development 
Company and the other companies directed by the Palestine Office. These young 
workers combined tog-ether in workers' organisations, and began to form a solid 
labouring- class which continually inceased in numbers and power. 

There was also' a continuous increase in the number of persons of means 
who broug^ht their belongings here in order to settle or to invest their capital. 
Some of these went into the professions, others contributed to the expansion of the 
export trade, while others again, settlings in the towns of Jaifa and Haifa, acquired 
property and plantations, opened workshops, built houses, and laid the foundations 
of a new commercial life. It was these settlers who> did most for the expansion of 
Tel Aviv, and who began to found there a new commercial organisation which 
exercised a strong- influence on the whole of the Yishub. The progress Of this 
section was displayed most conspicuously in the increase of land purchase and of 
the sums devoted to this purpose. 

This class also furthered the development of the colonies, where they acquired 
property, built houses, laid out plantations, promoted commerce, and took an 
active part in the public life which was ripening there. 

A special class of immigrants was formed by the school children, who were 
either sent by their parents alone to Palestine in order to receive there a national 
education, or for whose sakes the parents themselves came over. The best 
testimony to the attraction of Palestine for the studious youth of Jewry is afforded 
by the rapid g-rowth of the Hebrew Gymnasium^ in Jaffa, alongfside of which should 
be mentioned the Modern School in Haifa, the Hebrew High School in Jerusalem, 
and the "Bezalel" Arts and Crafts school in Jerusalem, as in these also there were 
a number of pupils from abroad. The Jaffa Gymnasium had in 191 4, the eighth 
year of its existence, 750 pupils, who' brought 50,000 francs monthl}- into the 
country. The yearly expenditure of the Gymnasium, three-quarters of which was 
defrayed from the fees of the children from abroad, amounted to 125,000 francs. 
The financial importance of this immigration is further shown by the fact that in 
addition to the fees about 50,000 francs came into the country' from abroad for the 
maintenance of these children. 

(3) Economic Expansion. 

The growing- interest in Palestine to which the inflow of capital bore witness 
was shown particularly by the increase in the sums devoted to land purchase. This 


branch was the special concern of the Plantation Companies (Achuzoth) which were 
formed abroad for the purpose of the joint purchase of land for settlement. The first 
of these companies was founded by S. Goldman in St. Louis. The idea on which 
he worked was soon taken up extensively, and in a few years a whole number of 
Achuzoth came into being in America and other countries. Russia especially, with 
its hundreds of thousands of well-to-do Jews, appeared to offer an inexhaustible 
reservoir of men and money for Palestine, and before the war broke out a whole 
number of these companies had already put themselves in communication with the 
Palestine Office regarding^ land purchase. No better example could be found both 
of the keen interest which was taken in the acquisition and development of land 
in Palestine before the war, and of the disastrous effects of the outbreak of the 
war in this direction also, than the case of the property in Emek Jezreel. On the 
day when war was declared, the Palestine Office was on the point of purchasing 
140,000 dunam of the best soil in this fertile portion of Palestine. The Russian 
Jews Brodsky and Halpern on the one side, along with a number of other wealthy 
persons in Kiev who up till then had shown no particular interest in the practical 
building up of Palestine, and Baron Rothschild on the other side had guaranteed 
the money for this, the most important transaction of its kind which had yet taken 
place in the history of our colonisation. The consent of the Vali of Beyrout had 
already been obtained for the purchase. The outbeak of war shattered the 
transaction when on the eve of completion, and at the same time shipwrecked a 
whole list of colonising schemes which were connected with this big purchase. 

The great interest in Palestine which has been aroused all over the world 
show«)d itself also in the large number of tourists who came from all parts to see 
Palestine for themselves and to judge of the prospects of settling there. 

The position of the banks was another proof of the gratifying way in which 
the country was expanding. The resources of the Jewish National Fund increased, 
while the bank strengthened its position, augmented its turnover, and showed in 
its balance sheets a constant growth of deposit accounts. 

This favourable situation gave birth to a whole .series of industrial projects, 
the investigation, working out and experimental testing of which was taken up by 
the Palestine Industrial Syndicate. These projects included : — 

The cuiltivation of sugar beet and the manufacture of sugar. 

A cement and brick factory. 

An eng-ineering workshop. 

The transforming of the Baths of Tiberias into an attractive health resort. 

The draining of the swamps of the Lake of Merom. 

Telephone installations in toiwn and country. 

(4) Hebrew Education. 

It was in this period of general expansion that the Hebrew school system of 
the Zionist Organisation was founded. Originally the Zionist Organisation had 
on principle excluded all educational work in Palestine from its programme. The 
Hebrew school system developed independently in the Jewish colonies, in which 
schools had existed from the commencement, and it was consistenitly promoted by 
the Chovevi Zion Committee in Odessa, which had maintained the excellent girls' 


school in Jaifa. Special committees were responsible for the maintenance of the 
Hebrew High Schools in Jaffa and Jerusalem, and the Bezalel Arts and Crafts 
School, althoug-h in all these institutions it was prominent Zionists who' were the 
leading spirits and chief workers. 

The HilfsvereinI der deutschem Juden had done very useful work in the field of 
Palestine education. In contrast to the Alliance Israelite it had introduced into 
its schools modern pedagogic methods. It also did miuch for Hebrew teaching by 
engaging competent instructors and having a large part of the subjects taught in 
Hebrew. It refused, however, to accede tO' the demand which in view of the 
progress of Hebrew education was put forward by the teachers and other 
nationalists, that Hebrew should be constituted the sole language of instruction in 
the schools. It preferred tO' have part of the subjects taught in German ; and this 
language began toi gain ground more and more at the expense of Hebrew. This 
tendency asserted itself with very unpleasant force when the question arose of 
determining the language of instruction at the Technicum in Haifa, an institution 
towards the founding of which the most diverse Jewish circles had contributed; 
and this manifestation gave the occasion for an exit en masse of teachers and pupils 
from the Hilfsverein schools. 

This fight over the schools in Palestine was the immediate cause of the Zionist 
Organisation taking the educational work in hand. Side by side with the schools 
mainitained by the Hilfsverein, purely Hebrew schools were founded, the direction of 
which was assumed by the Zionist Organisation. An educational committee — the 
Vaad Hachiiniuch — was formed, composed of the Hebrew teachers and Jewish 
hoiuseholders in the towns and colonies. In a short time this bodv itself raised 
44,000 francs for the expenses of the newly founded Hebrew schools — mostly '.n 
Palestine. The whole expenditure of the schools for the first year was 160,000 francs 
which was guaranteed by the Zionist Actions Committee. These schools included 
the Boys' and Girls' school in Jerusalem, the Teachers' Seminary in| Jerusalem, the 
Boys' School in Jaffa and the Modern School in Haifa, as well as some kinder- 
gartens. Thus was the foundation laid for a school system which from now^ on was 
maintained by the Zionist Organisation, and which in the course of ai few years 
expanded tO' such an extent that about 140 schools with over 500 teachers and 
11,000 pupils (i.e., two-thirds of the school children of the whole country) were 
kept going. 

(5) Public Life. 

An important sign of the progress of Palestinian Jewry in the period before 

the outbreak of the war was the improvement in social organisation throughout the 

country. A strong communal life pulsated in all the cololnies, with results that 

in some places, and especially in Tel Aviv, were truly admirable. In Judea the 

colonies formed an association called "Hithachduth Moshevoth Jehudah," with 

a single executive, which looked after the common economic and general interests 

of the colonies. In Lower Galilee also there arose a joint body representing 

all the colonies with a Bureau which did fruitful work on their behalf. The 

workers formed themselves into two main political parties, Hapoel Hazair, which 

was fundamentally a nationalist party with the securing of employment for its 


chief aim, and Poale Ziom, which was essentially a Socialist org-anisation. There 
was also am association including- all agricultural workers without distinction of 
party. The Palestine Office, as representative of the Zionist Org-anisation, became 
gradually the centre of all endeavours tO' improve organisation. Although 
it was responsible only to the Zionist Actions Committee, yet it endeavoured to 
consult in all important political questions with the leaders of public life in the 
V'ishub. By the side of the Palestine Office was formed a standing council, the 
Vaad Temidi, which consisted of representatives of the colonies, of the workers, 
of the most important colonising institutions and of the towru dwellers, and which 
deliberated on affairs of moment. These promising beginnings were cut short by 
the declaration of war between the European Powers, which put an abrupt end to 
all our hopes and expectations. 



(i) Suspension of the Capitulations. 

The outbreak of the war plunged Palestine intO' a condition such as the Yishub 
had never before exp>erienced. Turkey, it is true, was still neutral, but a state of 
war had already been declared, the Turk showed an obvious inclinatioin to side with 
the Central Powers, and the political sky was overcast and threatening. Through 
the suspension of the Capitulations the security of life and property which the 
Palestine Jews had hithertoi enjoyed, thanks to the protection of the Consulates 
against the arbitrariness of Turkish officials, was materially impaired. Even 
befoire the official suspension of the Capitulations an endeavour was plainly to be 
discerned on the side of the Turkish officials to shake off their tutelage and to set 
aside entirely the power of the foreign represenitatives — an endeavour tJiat was 
naturally watched with great uneasiness by the Jews in Palestine, who were under 
the protection of the government of their country of origin. When the suspension 
of the Capitulations was proclaimed, many faimilies in the countn,' felt themselves 
deprived of their chief safeguard. Tbe unrest among the Jews, as also' among the 
Christians, was heightened by ,the propaganda set on foot for a Jehad, or Holy "War. 
When, to-day after the end of the war we survey its effects on Palestine, we 
find that, in spite of the sacrifice of human life and the heavy material losses which 
it entailed, it has not on the -whole been so destructive as at first had been 
feared. This is chiefly due* tO' the fact that Palestinle was only toi a minor 
extent one of the actual theatres of war. Not till the last twoi years of the 
war did the country become the arena of military operations. When they did 
commence, the ad^rance of the English (from Gaza to Jerusalem, Chanukah 5678) 
and the conquest of Samaria and Galilee (Succoth 5679) took place with such 
rapidity that the Turks fortunately had no time to' carry out their plans of destruc- 
tion. The only places where military operations caused really serious damage were 
the colonies of Petah-Tikvah, Kfar Sabah, Ain Ganim and Benshemen. 

(2) Economic Isolation. 

The uncertainty of the political outlook was aggravated by the economic 
insecurity which the w ar immediately brought in its train. The population, which 
depended entirely on its communications with the outside world, found itself 
suddenly completely isolated. This situation was no less threatening for the new 
than for the old Yishub. The old Yishub with its charitable institutions and its 
Chalukah system had up to then maintained relations with all foreign countries, 
especially Russia and Galicia. About 3,000,000 francs used tO' flo'w into the country 


annually and from this sum a whole croiwd of people derived their livelihood. The 
new Yishub depended on foreign countries chiefly for its foodstuffs. The colonies 
depended for the most part on the export oif their produce. Before the war about 
eig-hty per cent, of the orange crop, averaging about 30,000 boxes of a vaJue 
of one and a-quarter to one and a-half million francs, seventy f>en cent, 
the almond crop, to the value of 400,000 to 500,000 francs and fifty per cent, 
of the vintage to the value of 800,000 to 1,000,000 francs used to go 
abroad. Now that the country was cut off from the outer world, there were no 
longer any purchasers for the produce of the plantation colonies, and their exis- 
tence seemed to be seriously endangered. It was only later that an internal market 
was created for the requirements of the military, and this suffered from bad trans- 
port arrangements. A large number of families in the colonies and towns whose 
money was still invested abroad, as they had not yet had time to liquidate their 
businesses there, found themselves suddenly deprived of their remittances. 
Their fate was shared by the young people who were being brought up in 
Palestine educational institutions, and who were supported by their relatives 
abroad. Teachers and officials also the moftey for whose salaries was raised abroad 
suddenly saw their livelihood threatened. In theor\', it is true, Turkey still 
maintained its relations with other countries, but in reality intercourse was so 
seriously interrupted that the Yishub saw the main arteries of its economic life 
severed. On top of this came the declaration of a moratorium, through w hich for a 
time all commercial intercourse was brought to a stop. The situation pressed with 
especial hardship on the Bank — the Anglo-Palestine Coi. For the population of 
Palestine this was the central institution to which everyone first turned for financial 
assistance. It had to satisfy its depo'sitors, and yet, in consequence of the uncertain 
political situation, it could not be much more accommodating to its customers than 
the other banks in the country, nor could it do more than it was absolutely obliged 
to do. 

Business came to a standstill. The colonies not only lost all opportunity of 
exporting their products, but were unable even to imp)ort the most indispvensable 
materials, especially petroleum for driving motors. The question of the food 
supply soon became urgent everywhere, especially in the towns. The Jews, who 
were for the most part town-dwellers, or at any rate grew little corn, were exposed 
to the danger of starvation in a higher degree than the other sections of the 
f)opulation. Only in the Jewish agricultural colonies was the population able not 
only to provnde for itself, but, in consequence of the scarcity in the towns and other 
colonies, to dispose of a portion of its corn there at advantageous prices. 

AppeaJ to Foreign Countries : In this desperate situation the representatives 
of the principal institutions in Palestine — the director of the Palestine Office, the 
director of the Bank, and the representative of the Chovevi Zion — issued an app>eal 
to prominent Jews abroad whose interest in Palestine was well known. This appeal 
was responded to with particular energy by the leaders of the Zionist Organisation 
in Russia and Messrs. Rosoff and Naiditsch. They managed to raise money, and, 
so long as there was direct or indirect communication between Russia and Palestine, 
to send it thither. In the countries of Central Europe, with which intercourse was 
maintained much longer, the appeal met with a far feebler response. The war had 


produced such a paralysis of effort there that in a short time the societies! which 
supported the institutions in Palestine had to send word that their resources were 

(3) Self-Help Committees. 

In view of the theatening situatio'n, the new Yishub in Palestine determined on 
a comprehensive scheme of self-help. The example was set by the organisations 
created in Jaffa and the Jewish colonies. In Jaffa the representatives of all classes 
— the labourers' organiisatiom, the traders' organisation, etc., met together and 
formed a " Coimmittee for Alleiviating the Crisis " (Vaad Hakalat Hamashber). 
The President of the Vaad of Tel Aviv, Dizengoff, was placed at the head of this 
committee, and devoted his whole energy to the work. He received the full support 
of all classes ; particularly to be mentioned among his coadjutors are the Jaffa 
residents, Bezalel Jaffe and A. Lew. Communal kitchens were erected, which 
provided meals at cost price. All kinds of devices were adopted to make the situa- 
tion more tolerable. When after the declaration of the moratorium the ordinary 
circulating media disappeared from the country, recourse was had to the issue of 
bank cheques, and also of small circulating bonds, issued by the Vaad of Tel Aviv 
and the Flour Committee. The J.N.F. farms administered by the Palestine Office 
placed their corn stocks at the disposal of the Relief Committee, thus contributing 
materially to avert the famine with which some places were threatened. 

The Vaad Hakalat Hamashber joined hands with the gemieral comimittee of 
the Jaffa community. It drew up a budget, drafted a scale of taxes to be paid by 
the inhabitants and collected contributions amonir them. A number of committees 
were founded, each with a particular function : a co'mmittee for emergency works, 
for providing flour and bread, for communal kitchens and tea rooms, for assisting 
the sick, etc. These! committees worked in part independently, in part in| conjunc- 
tio'U with the Committee for Alleviating the Crisis, 

After receiving the money from the American Relief Fund, the Committee was 
able to extend considerably its efforts for alleviating the crisis. It occupied itself 
particularly with providing bread, flour and other necessaries. For this purpose 
relief committees fro'm the various Jewish conDmunities were formed in Jaffa, with 
the task of investigating the position and, under the supervision of the Coimmittee 
for Alleviating the Crisis, of distributing- nioney or food to the needy. ITie Jewish 
communities in Jaffa also formed three special ccimmittees : of the Yemenites, of 
the Sephardim, and of the Ashkenazim. 

Emergency KUcJieiis : Besides distributing- bread and flour, the Committee for 
Alleviating the Crisis displayed great activity in establishing and maintaining 
kitchens. A definite sum was assigned to the Committee in order to distribute 
food, whether gratis or on credit, to workers who could not find employment. In the 
kitchen founded by the Joint Committee, 120 young persons and forty to fifty 
families were regularly provided with meals. This kitchen was, however, closed 
when in consequence of the expulsion a large part of the Jafl"a workers left the 
country, while others dispersed among the colcnies, or found employment on public 
works in Jaffa. Fro^m that time the situation of the workers in Jaffa improved 


to such a degree that kitchens ol this type were no longer necessary. Along with 
the workers' kitchen a tea room was opened where anyone in need could obtain 
either gratis or for a small payment two glasses of tea and an okie (275 grammes) 
of bread twice daily. In this tea room about t\\ Oi hundred persons on an average 
received their rations. 

Flour Committee: In spite of the fact that in peace time the produce of Palestine 

had sufficed to feed its inhabitants, and even to allow of export abroad, the town 
of Jaffa was at the very beginning of the crisis threatened with a great increase in 
the price of bread. The cause of this was the commandeering of a large part of 

the corn for military purposes, and tlie difficulties ol communication in the country. 

It became impossible to bring corn from the north of Palestine and from Hauran to 
the soiUth of Palestine. To' relieve the bread scarcity a Flour Coimmiittee was founded 
with the task of procuring sufficient quantities of corn for the maintenance of the 
Jewish population and of selling it at reasonable prices. A few persons combined 
forces for this object, and received from the Anglo-Palestine Co. on the strength 
of private guarantees sums considerably in excess of the usual run of loans. This 
money was used to purchase large quantities of corn throughout the country,, 
which were ground into flour. The great boon conferred by the Flour Committee 
consisted not merely in the fact of its selling itself bread and flour cheaply, but in 
its being able, through the large quantities of corn which it had at its command, 
to keep the corn prices on the Jaffa market constantly at a low figure. In this wav 
it was found possible to a certain extent tO' protect the public against speculation. 
The activities of the Flour Committee were important also for other institutions 
and committees. The numerous public kitchens, several schools and their kitchens, 
the Committee for Alleviating the Crisis, and certain trade unions received tlicir 
flour from this committee, and it was only through the low prices which it demanded 
and through strict punctuality in the delivery of the flour that the institutions and 

the Committee mentioned were able to meet the demands made on them. AVhen 
the committee had larger stocks than it required, it sold them to the colonies, 
which it thus saved from a scarcity of food supplies. .Altogether the committee 
bought 5,282 sacks of corn for about 206,000 francs. 

The Flour Committee had bread baked in various bakeries and sold the loaves 
itself, in order tO' prevent the bakers raising the price of the bread, and in order that 
people who' could not bake at home might still be able tO' buy bread at the same 
price as before. The bread was sold to. private people at cost price, so that for 
a full year the price of bread was kept at the same level at which it had stood before 
the war. The Flour Committee supplied about 20 per cent, of the bread consumed, 
and reduced the ruling prices by 25 per cent. The amount saved in this way to the 
Jaffa community may be put down at 33,000 francs. 

The fact that most of the corn was bought fro^m the farms conducted hx the 
Palestine Office made the transactions much easier. The business was con- 
centrated in Jaffa, where the cheques of the A.P.C. were current. In purchasing 
the flour the cheques of the A.P.C. or bills of the Committee of Tel Aviv could be 
utilised. Had the corn been brought from Hauran there would have been the 
dang-er that the Government would commandeer large quantities purchased by Ihc 

Committee and pay for them in Turkish pa:per money. This actually happened on 
one occasion, and meant to the Committee a loss of 50 to 70 j>er cent, of the 
purchase price. 

(4) The American Relief Work. 

In spite of all efforts made in Palestine to cope with the situation, the Jewish 
population would have succumbed had not financial help arrived from America. 
From the day when war broke out Palestine had appealed to America for help. 
America was at that time the one country which through its political and financial 
position was able to save Palestine permanently from going- under. It was 
stimulated to do so by the deep interest in Palestine which of recent years had been 
awakened in American Jewry. 

The Zionist Organisation in America at once recognised the duty imposed on 
it by the circumstances of the time, and the need of saving the central Zionist 
Organisation and its institutions. There happened to be at the critical moment 
in America a me;mber of the Inner Actions Committee, Dr. Schmarya Levm, 
Through his efforts, combined with those of the more energetic members of the 
American Zionist Organisation, the " Provisional Committee for all Zionist 
Affanrs " was founded, with Louis Brandeis at its head. 

Great assistance was given by the American ambassador, Henry Morgenthau, 
who had visited Palestine some months before the outbreak of the war, and had 
promised his support tO' the director of the Palestine Office, Dr. Ruppin. Thanks 
to the efforts of the Zionist Organisation and of men like Jacob Schiff, to whom 
the Bank, the Palestine Office and the representatives of the Chovevi Ziou had 
appealed, a large remittance of money — the first of many — was sent from America 
to Palestine. On September 14th, 191 4, the Palestine Office received the following 
telegram : " Ncav York, 3-9-14. In order to save the Zionist Organisation and its 
Palestine institutions, there has been founded here through a special Zionist 
Commiission a Provisional Committee which will work hand in hand with the KA.C. 
Brandeis : Schm. Levin." This message of itself raised the drooping spirits of the 
Palestinians. On October 6th, 191 4, the American warship " North Carolina " 
landed in the harbour of Jaffa, and the envoy of Ambassador Morgenthau, M. 
Wertheim, brought 50,0000 dollars. Half of this sum had been given by Jacob 
Schiff, the other half by the Zionist Organisation with Nathan Strauss. 

The arrival of this warship and of those that folloiwed it was quite an event in 
the country. It raised the downcast spirits of the Jews, who saw that they were 
not abandoned, but could reckon 00 help from their brethren abroad. These ships 
also increased the prestige of the Jews in the eyes of the rest of the population and 
of the local administration. People saw that the Jews through their connections 
abroad were much more powerful than their numbers would have led one tO' expect. 
These American ships continued their good services on behalf of the Jewish Yishub. 
They brought money from time to time, and hospitably took on board the expelled 
Jews and the other immigrants who fled from Palestine for fear of star\'ation and 

It was two Palestinians who did the most important part of this relief work. 
Levin-Epstein, the treasurer of the Provisional Executive Committee, sent the 

monev to Alexandria, and there S. Gluskin saw to its further transmission to 
Palestine. The remittances at first were small. Later on they increased in 
volume, as they included private remittances which American Jews sent tO' their 
relatives in Palestine. The transmission of the mdney, which was a task 
requiring- considerable address and scrupulous care, was carried out admirably. 
Besides money, food alsoi came from America on a special ship, the " Vulcan.'' 
Altogether, from October, 1915, 3,522,930.03 francs was brought to Palestine in 
thirteen American ships. 

Of even g^reater importance perhaps for Palestine than the receipt of the 
American money was its systematic distribution. This began w^th the first remit- 
tance of 251,998.02 francs^ $50,000, which arrived on October 3rd, 1914, on board 
the ship " North Carolina." 

People g-radually settled down to the idea that the crisis had come to stay, and 
realised that a definite method must be g-iven to the relief work. The remittances 
which at first had been casual and irregoilar were tabulated in fixed budg-ets. The 
g-eneral supervision and handling- of the accounts of the nine funds and the 
arrangements for despatching the "Vulcan " were centralised in the hands of the 
Palestine Office. The remittances can be divided into four periods, in each of which 
the amount received equalled almost a quarter of a million francs. 


A. October, 1914 








B. January-April, 1915 .. 

C. May, 19 1 5 

D. Sept., 191 5 — Feb., 1916 

., Vulcan 

15/1/15 88,883.94 

14/2/ 15 52,059-63 

25/3/15 60,360.00 

18/4/15 29,160.00 


1/9/ 1 5 60,000.00 

25/11/15 50,000.00 

14/1/16 50,000.00 

14/2/ 16 49,000.00 



Total 959,234.39 

In pursuance of the instructions broug-ht by Mr. Wertheim, who was in 
charg^e of the money, it was handed over to a Central Committee, consisting- of 
Messrs. A. Aaronsohn, Ephraim Cohen, and Arthur Ruppin. This Committee, in 
conjunction with Mr. Wertheim and the American consul in Jerusalem, Mr. 


Glazebrook, drew up at the meeting- of October 3rd the following rules for the 
distribution of the sums mentioned : — 

Palestine to be divided into three districts : 

A. Jerusalem-Hebron-Mozah. 

B. Jaffa and the Jewish colonies. 

C. Haifa-Safed-Tiberias, the colonies of Lower and Upper Galilee, and 

those of Samiaria. 

The Fund to be distributed in the following proportion : 

For District A, 47 per cent. 
,, ,, B, 26 per cent. 

,, ,, C, 2-j per cent. 

The distribution in each district to be carried out by a member of the 
committee, viz. : 

In District A, by Ephraim Cohen. 
,, ,, B, by Dr. .Arthur Ruppin. 

,, ,, C, by A. Aaronsohn. 

The Central Committee appointed local committees in every place and every 
district, for facilitating the distribution of the money. Each member of the Central 
Committee was chairman of the local committee in his district, or honorary presi- 
dent of it, with power to appoint a deputy. If owing to illness or tO' being on a 
journey the member of the Central Committee could not be present at the meeting, 
he could send his deputy. 

At the chief town in each district (Jerusalem, Jafifa, Haifa) the money had to 
be handed over to the Anglo-Palestinei Co. and deposited in the name of the 
niember of the Comimittee living there. From this depoisit the member of the 
Central Committee withdrew such sums as were required fro^m time to time and 
transferred them to his own current account as representative of the American 
Fund. At the same time he had to enter the rest of the money as deposit account. 

The money was handed over to the local committees to be distributed accord- 
ing to their discretion, subject tO' certain general rules. The President retained a 
right of veto regarding- the outlays decided on by the committees; but where 
he exercised this veto the majority in such committee had the rig-ht to appeal to 
the Central Committee, whose decision was final. The general principles in 
accordance with which the American Committee desired to see the money dis- 
tributed were as follows : — 

(a) Twenty per cent, to be used as a fund for the purchase of food stuffs, 
which should be sold at cost price. 

(b) Forty per cent, (in the colonies only twenty per cent.) to be used for 
distributing food to persons without money, or unable to work; for kitchens; and, 
further, for distributing" food to Mohammedans in a proportion to be fixed by the 


(c) Forty per cent, (in the colonies sixty per cent.) to be utilised as a loan 
fund for the purpose of enabling- private employers or public committees to give 
employment to Jewish workers. As far as possible guarantees should be obtained 
from the recipients of these loans that they would repay them not more than 
three months after the expiry of the moratorium. 

The members of the Central Committee had every two weeks to give reports 
to the head of the Comimittee, Dr. Ruppin, on their activities, and monthly a 
detailed account of the moneys that passed through their hands. Dr. Ruppin 
was to send these reports and accounts to Mr. Louis Marshall in New York. 
The members of the Central' Committee were to transmit to the American consuls 
in their districts a list of the businesses and provision shops opened by the 
American Fund. Immediately after their opening all necessary steps were to be 
taken to secure the protection of the Government for these shops and businesses. 

2 — Palestine. . _ 



(i) Turkey's Declaration of War. 

On October 31st, the seriousness of the situation in Palestine was accen- 
tuated by Turkey's entry into the war. Although this step had been anticipated 
for some time, yet when actually taken it was felt as a terrible aggravation of 
the existing difficulties, notably through the fear to which it gave rise that now 
communication with the outer world would cease entirely. 

Immensely overrating their own strength, the Turks at that tirtie believed 
that the day had come when they could sweep all foreigners out of the Ottoman 
State. In respect of the Jews, this purpose first revealed itself in a series of 
persecutions and oppressive acts. The Zionist agency in Constantinople and the 
Actions Committee in Berlin endeavoured immediately to counteract the oppres- 
sive measures. Both bodies followed events in Palestine with the closest attention. 
They laboured with foresight and energy, and managed time after time, with 
the help of the representatives of foreign Governments, especially the German and 
the American, to mitigate the hostile attitude of the Turks. Thanks to the efforts 
of the Zionist representatives in Constantinople and Berlin, the Jewish com- 
munity in Palestine was constantly enabled through diplomatic channels to furnish 
timely and detailed information to the outside world regarding events in Pales^ 
tine, and so to find protection in the hour of need. 

(2) Jemal Pasha and his Subordinates. 

Jemal Pasha, who as Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army and Minister 
of Marine, exercised supreme authority over the whole of Syria and Arabia, 
came to the country with the idea of fully Ottomianising all Turkish provinces, 
even those in which, with the exception of some officials, there were no Turks. 
The object which he set before himself was to root out all foreign subjects and 
replace them with persons more to the taste of the Turkish Government. He 
was, however, of an incalculable temper, always acting on the spur of the 
moment. His commands were self-contradictory. In the most important and 
critical affairs he decided without consulting experts. His orders, which he issued 
behind the backs of the army chiefs and experienced officials, were the incarnation 
of disorder and the negation of discipline. 

He had a certain appreciation for the educational work of the Jews, but he 
was inflexibly opposed to the idea of an extension of the Jewish Yishub. On 


this account, he issued a stringent prohibition of all sale of land and all transfer 
of land through Ottomans to non-Ottoman Jews. 

Jemal Pasha made a special point of persecuting the Zionists. He sought 
to represent them as a revolutionary element, and tried to institute legal actions 
against them in the same way as against the Arabs. With this object he appointed 
a special official to conduct investigations. 

One of the first acts of Jemal Pasha was to summon a number of Jewish 
notables to appear before him in Jerusalem. He there announced to them that 
the next day they would be sent with their families into the interior of Asia 
Minor. Only through the intervention of Albert Antebi, the representative of 
the lea and the Alliance in Jerusalem, was Jemal induced to change his mind, 
so that instead of thirty people going to Broussa, thirteen finally went to Tiberias 
*' for the benefit of their health." From this time onwards Antebi enjoyed a 
certain influence over Jemal Pasha, until, like so many of Jemal 's favourites, 
he incurred his displeasure and was sent by him with his family to Constantinople, 
where he endured great hardships till his death. The whole period of Jemal's 
domination was marked by similar exhibitions of caprice and arbitrary temper. 

Among other things, he was seized with the ambition of introducing im- 
provements into the coamtrj-. From these the Jewish population also profited, 
and a number of Jews found employment on them. Among the persons whom he 
attached to himself as experts there were a whole number of Jews, notably 
Mr. A. Antebi, whose advice he eagerly sought in economic and general political 
affairs; further, Aron Aronson, who at his instigation organised for a time the 
fight against the locusts ; Ephraim Krause, who established an agricultural school 
in Latroun on the model of the Mikveh Israel school of which he was the head, 
and plantations south of Beersheba ; the engineer, Gregor Wilbuschewitz, who drew 
up the plans for the imiprovement of Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Damascus; also Dr. 
A. Ruppin, for whom he proc:ured access to the official archives in order that he 
might prosecute his economic studies on Syria and Palestine. Besides these he 
also used the assistance of a number of Jewish experts. 

Jemal's period of office was marked by a whole series of Jewish trials. 
Cases occurred of people being suddenly taken from their houses, and then being 
shut up for weeks or months in prison, without even' being informed of the 
charge made against them. Many of them were, after weeks or months of 
detention, sent into the interior of- thei country. (Hankin, Israel Schochath.) 

Belia-ed-Din : A true disciple of Jemal Pasha was Beha-ed-Din, who at the 
beginning of the war occupied the post of Kaimakam in Jaffa. This man had been 
trained for a position in .'Armenia, and he came to Jaffa armed w^ith definite 
instructions, and with the object of instituting there a reign of terror like that 
in Armenia. Immediatelv after his arrival he declared to the Chacham Bashi in 
the hearing of a number of persons in his office that he was a determined opponent 
of those Palestine Jewsi who called themselves Zionists. He had, he said, devoted 
particular attention to this question while he was yet in Constantinople. He 
knew the Jeivs, whose prayer book was full of "Zion, Zion. " They came now 
in order toi acquire the land, and. founded "colonies" like the Romans, i.e., settle- 


ments which were to form a State within a, State. But he would deal rigorously 
with them. His first order was that Hebrew sigri-boards should be prohibited 
(Hebrew was only allowed tO' take the third place along- with Turkish and Arabic, 
and then only in small letters) ; that the street name-plates in Tel Aviv should be 
removed; and) that Jewish guards of the Jewish quarter should be forbidden. He 
further resolved not to> allow the Jewish subjects of foreign countries to land. 
During Beha-ed-Din's period of office about fifty Yememite families came via 
Egypt to Jaffa. According to Turkish law it was impossible to forbid their' entry, 
as they were Ottoman citizens; nevertheless, Beha-ed-Din forbade them to land. 
For a long time they remained out at sea in stormy weather in front of Jaffa, 
until certain influential people by means of a little trickery obtained permission 
for them to land; and then they were immediately locked up. They were only 
released after wearisome negotiations, and after the police had made enquiries 
as toi who had brought them,. The character of this Turkish despot is well shown 
by his treatment of Miss M. Schochat, the Palestine woman worker. In compliance 
with his invitation, she expressed her opinion in his presence with great freedom, 
on the mismanagement of the Turks. He listened to her quite calmly, and then 
handed her over to the court-martial and had her banished into the interior of 
the country. 

He brought his own career to an end by the great domiciliary search which 
he instituted in Tel Aviv on November 5th, 1914. On December 17th, he projected a 
mass expulsion of Jews from Jaffa, which caused a universal commotion. In 
consequence of the great indignation roused by this action abroad, Jemal Pasha 
.found himself obliged to remove Beha-ed-Din from, his post asi Kaimakam, though 
he simply transferred himi to the post of head of the information sei'vice in the 
staff of the Fourth Army. 

Hassan Bey : The harshest and most cruel of all the Turkish officials was the 
Commandant of the Jaffa district, Hassan Bey, who for a time was also Deputy 
Kaimakam in Jaffa. He was the very type of an Oriental satrap. It would suddenly 
come into his head to summon respectable householders to him after midnight, and 
hours after they would return to their expectant families with an order to bring 
him some object from their homes which had caught his fancy or of which he 
had heard — an electric clock, a carpet, etc. Groundless arrests, insults, tortures, 
bastinadoes — these were things eivery householder had to fear. 

Like Jemal, he also had an ambition to beautify the towns. For this 
purpose he suddenly had whole rows of houses pulled down without offering any 
reason, and forced the owners to sign legal documients stating that they gave up 
all claim to their property. Both they and the other inhabitants were compelled 
to provide building materials and money. He forced the labourers under threat 
of the lash to^ give work without payment. Agricultural labourers, tailors, boot- 
makers, and other artisans were called on to work at road making and other 
Government works. 

Hassan Bey continually demanded from the Jewish institutions money for and 
active participation in the execution of public works (building* of a mosque in 
Jaffa, erection of the Mohammedan schools founded bv him, etc.). The Jewish 


communal committees particularly excited his wrath. He openly called the members 
of the Colony Committees "Komitadjes. " Every Jewish institution and building 
was suspect in his eyes. 

When Hassan Bey presented a demand to a colony, he usually reinforced 
it with a threat to attack the colony with his soldiers and wipe it out if hisi request 
was not fulfilled. 

At the end of igi6 Hassan Bey was removed to Mosul. His intolerance of 
all opinions other than this own had roused universal opposition against him. 

With these Turkish leaders a host of other officials (Turkish) came into the 
country, among- them men of friendly disposition who got on very well with 
the Jews in every way. Such were, for instance, the deputy and namesake of 
Jemal Pasha, the Commandant of an Army Corps and several military chiefs in 
Jerusalem, who' to Oriental good nature added a liking- for Jewnsh society, and 
who' on many occasions proved friends in need. 

(3) Persecutions under Jemal's Rule. 

(a) House Searches in Tel Aviv: The first official act of Jemal Pasha which 
threw the Jewish population into a state of terror was the house search in Tel 
Aviv and the arrest of Zionist leaders. This search was expected to provide proof 
that the Zionists were pursuing Separatist aims, detrimental to the integrity ol 
the Turkish State. The most convincing proof of their Separatist endeavours 
was to be afforded by the institution of their own arbitration court, Mishpat 
Hashalom. Accordingly Hassan Bey, who was in charge of the investigation, 
examined with special minuteness all the members of the Court who were known 
to him. A special political significance was attached by the officials of Jemal to 
the circulation of Jewish National Fund Stamps. The material brought to light 
by the officials engaged on the investigation was to be made the basis of an 
important political trial. It was anticipated that in the case of some of the 
accused it would be impossible to secure a condemnation, but it was hoped that 
opportunity would be afforded of banishing from the country all who were known 
as active Zionists. The names of Palestinian delegates to- Zionist Congresses, 
especially the last Congress, were taken from the Congress minutes, and they 
were put on their trial for high treason. Then there was a domiciliary visit. 
One morning the residents of Tel Aviv woke up to find the whole quarter sur- 
rounded by a cordon of soldiers, while policemen pressed into the houses and 
began their search. Prominent individuals were arrested and sent to Jerusalem. 
The search lasted about a week. Although it failed to yield the results expected 
by the Turks, and although nothing was discovered which was against the law of 
Turkey or dangerous to the security and welfare of the realm, yet most of the 
accused were sentenced to exile. 

On Novemiber 5th, 191 4, a second domiciliary visit was carried out. 
B.eha-ed-Din had Tel Aviv encircled on all sides, posted guards at the cross- 
roads, and began a minute search in the houses. He looked for money, 
securities, and cheques on the bank. Some people were imprisoned for a time. 


Rig-orous searches were carried out in several of the colonies. Firearms were 
particularly looked for there. The search in Mikveh Israel lasted forty-eight hours, 
and was accompanied by; gross insults to) the jews. 

(b) Prohibition of National Fund Stamps: A further oppressive act of Jemal 
was to forbid the use of National Fund Stamps on pain of death. This step created 
extraordinary excitement in Palestine itself and abroad. 

Closing of the Bank: An order followed to close all branches of the A.P.C. 
in ten days. This order threw into consternation not only Jewish circles, but also 
the numerous non-Jews who had business dealings with the Bank. Apart from 
the important part played by this institution in the economic life of the country 
in g-eneral, it was renderings particular assistance to the population at that time 
by issuing cheques for fixed sums. At the beginning of the crisis coin disappeared 
from the market, and the issue of these cheques was a good means of meeting 
the need for currency tokens. The Committee of Tel Aviv and the Jewish Food 
Committee in Jaffa also issued at the same time bills for small amounts. These 
cheques and bills circulated among the Jews, and in many cases they were accepted 
by the other inhabitants also, so that they contributtd considerably to the facilitating 
of commercial intercourse in the country. The closing of the Bank and the 
prohibition of the use of cheques only agg"ravated the crisis. 

Inhibition of Remittances : One of the annoyances to which the Yishub was 
subjected under Hassan Bey was the inhibition of the paying- out of the money 
which had been brought by the American ship to Jaffa. Shortly after Hassan 
Bey had announced his desire that all public moneys should pass through his 
hands, a ship arrived with money at Jaffa. This was the first new money to reach 
the country after a long- interval, and the head of the Palestine Office naturally 
sougfht to transmit the money imimediately to the places for which it wasi intended. 
A conference was held, as it was difficult to decide how to act. On the one 
hand, the need for money, after a long cessation of remittances, was extremely 
pressing, and the refusal to forward it would have thrown several institutions! and 
private persons into the g-reatest difficulties. On the other side, there was the 
dang"er that if the desire of the military commandant were complied with, a larg-e 
part of the money would not reach Jewish hands. Negotiations went on for ten 
days. The special intervention of the American ambassador with the central 
authorities was requested. The Government in Constantinople communicated by 
telegraph with Jemal Pasha. At length, the following arrangement was come to. 
The money was to be transferred to the office of the American consul, and the 
list to be submitted to Hassan Bey. The money was to be distributed under the 
supervision of a committee composed of representatives of the Jewish community 
along- with Government officials. In this way the money was rescued from the 
hands of the Government. But the attempt of the Turkish Government to appro- 
priate this money led the Entente Powers to refuse all further permission for the 
bringing- in of money in this way, so that the inflow of remittances was stopped. 


(c) The First Exodus from Jaffa: Beha-ed-Din's great coup was the expulsion 
of Jews from Jaffa on December 17th, 1914. On that date at mid-day he suddenly 
issued an order that all Jews who were subjects of foreign Governments and had 
not yet become Ottoman subjects must leave the country by the boat which was 
to come to Jaffa at 4 o'clock. Policemen and soldiers posted themselves in the 
streets, beat and arrested men and women, old persons and children, and dragged 
them to the police buildings. They were not allowed to take with them their things, 
not even a change of clothing. Those arrested in the streets received no permission 
tO' inform their families of their arrest and to secure provisions for the journey. 
Without pity they were all dragged to the Customs House, and from there 
transferred in the most unfeeling manner on to the ship in boats. The barbarity 
of the officials who carried out this expulsion passed all bounds. Before their 
eyes the boatmen dragged the exiles in the darkness of the evening out to sea. 
They threatened with knives and struck the j>eople who refused to give them 
what they demanded. The ship could not take in all the victims, and a large part 
returned to the shore. Many families were separated; either the children remained 
in the boat while the parents had already been put on board, or the children had to 
depart while the parents remained behind. This expulsion was all the more 
unexpected, as a decision w-as being awaited from Constantinople regarding the 
naturalisation. Jemal Pasha, as Commander-in-Chief, had simply given the order 
for expulsion without the Central Government knowing anything about it. The 
Chacham Bashi of Jerusalem lodged a complaint about the cruelty of Beha-ed-Din 
with Jemal Pasha, who, however, threatened him with deposition from his office 
if he dared to meddle with matters that did not concern him. The continuance 
of the expulsion was stopped by telegraphic order from Constantinople. The 
fact of the expulsion and the manner in which it was carried out werel so strongly 
commented on in foreign countries that the Turkish Government saw itself corrv- 
I>elled to remove Beha-ed-Din from his post, though, as already mentioned, it 
was only to transfer him to a higher one. 

(d) Trials: Nothing contributed so much to depress and mortify the Jews 
under the Turkish rule as the chain of trials of leading Zionists which extended 
over the whole period. These trials gave a shock to the whole Jewish community, 
and kept not only the accused but all the representatives of the Zionist Organisa- 
tion in continuous agitation and unrest. In every case it was necessary to give 
the accused legal, jx>litical, and financial assistance, and the Palestine Office in 
particular was kept in a constant ferment. The whole of the trials had no other 
object than to reduce to inaction persons who were kno\vn as representatives 
of Zionism. 

Trial of AcIidiitJi: For publishing a letter on the expulsion from Jaffa the 
printing establishment and offices " Achduth," of the Workers' Party, Poale Zion, 
were closed. The papers in; which the letter was published were confiscated. The 
author, J. Ben Zwi, and the responsible editor, S. Aschuri, were handed over 
to the law courts. After an examination lasting some months, J. Ben Zwi was 


sentenced to imprisonment for two months and a fine of £Ti5 after he had already 
been banished from the country for being a member of the Poale Zion Party 
The same sentence was passed oa the responsible editor. The printing press and 
office of " Achduth " were closed till after the war. 

Trial of "Hapoel Hazair" : Similar proceedings were instituted against 
"Hapoe.1 Hazair," alsoi arising out of the publication of a report on the expulsion. 
As the editor, Joseph Aronowitz, had been sent away some time before the accusa- 
tion, the responsible editor, J. Kaschdan, was put on trial. Although he was 
acquitted twice, he was put on his trial a third time, and was in a most arbitrary 
manner sentenced to two years' imprisonment and a fine of ;i£jT5o. 

Trial Concerning the National Fund Stamps: On December 20th, 1915, Dr. 
J. Thon, Feldmian, some officials of the Palestine Office, and Ephraimi Blumenfeld, 
representative of the Workers' Fund in Palestine, were summoned before the 
investigating judge in Jaffa. Investigations and enquiries lasting some days were 
held regarding the National Fund Stamps, the place of their issue, and their 
circulation in the country. The accusation rested on the following occurrence. 
Seven years before thel trial, a boy who had served as messenger in the Palestine 
Office had handed over to the police a number of National Fund Stamps, with 
the remark that he had obtained them in the Palestine Office. At that time the 
Turkish officials did not venture to make any use of this information; now, how- 
ever, they thought the moment had come to institute a charge of high treason 
against the head of the Palestine Office and his assistants on the basis of the 
boy's remarks. The imprisonment of the accused was only avoided through 
vigorous representations and the offer of bail. The State attorney assured the 
accused that he understood the real circumstances of the case, and that there was 
no ground for an accusation. Nevertheless, he made the following report : — 

"It has been disclosed by the investigation that Dr. Ruppin, Dr. Thon, and 
Messrs. A. Ulitzki, Ben David, J. Feldman, E. Blumenfeld, and Feingold, circulate 
in Palestine the stamps of the Zionist Organisation which are printed in Cologne 
and intended for national purposes. These stamps give the above-mentioned 
organisation the form of a government which does charitable work as a screen 
for political objects, and this is one way in which it seeks tO' achieve them. 
According to the appendix to ' Par. 120 of the criminal code, published on 
3 1 -3-1 329, this constitutes an offence of the second order, and accused 
must present themselves before the military court in Jerusalem. 3 Ganun Jani 


In consequence of the opinion thus rendered by the State Attorney, the accused 
were sent under strict surveillance toi be tried by the military court at Jerusalem, 
whither Dr. Ruppin was alsO' summoned. The investigation lasted fourteen days, 
and was conducted by Ibrahim Bey, who was known to be a strict and harsh 
judge. The trial was expected to^ prove that the National Fund Stamps were a 
sign of participation in the Zionist movement, the object of which was the under- 
mining of the stability of the Turkish monarchy. The accused were thus threatened 


with a heavy penalty, as traitors to the country. Meanwhile, the thing- became 
known in Constantinople, and under pressure from the Capital the judges chang-ed 
their tactics, and construed the indictment to meani that the accused were charg-ed 
with imitating- Government stamps. As, however, they lacked the essential sigri 
of the Government stamps, viz., the "Tug-ra'' (the sig^nature of the Sultan), the 
State Attorney proposed acquittal and the court agreed. 

Trial of the Palestine Office for Conducting the Business of the A. P. C : 
A few weeks after the members of the Palestine Office had been acquitted in the 
matter of the National Fund Stamps, they were ag-ain put on their trial on another 
charg-e. After the closing of the Bank, persons with claims on the Bank who had 
been left without means received instalments from the Palestine Office on account 
of their claims. This g^ave the administration ground for an mdictment, and a 
searching investig-ation was set on foot in which the Commandant, Hassan Bey, 
subjected the chief defendant, Dr. Thon, to every kind of torture in order to 
obtain from him an admission that the Palestine Office had really carried on the 
affairs of the Ang-lo-Palestine Bank after the Government had forbidden it. The 
whole material was handed over to the military court in Jerusalem, with a denuncia- 
tion of the Zionist Executive for its dang-erous conduct. The report ran as 
follows : — 

"To the Chief Commandant of the Fourth Army Corps. The enclosed letters 
have disclosed the following- facts. After the Government had closed the Anglo- 
Palestine Co., in Jaffa, Dr. Ruppin secretly opened a bank in his house in Tel 
Aviv, where all kinds of money dealings were transacted, and where the work of 
the bank was continued. As a result of the cross-examination of the heads of the 
Bank, Messrs. Hoofien and Grasowsky, and the clerks, Goldberg- and Ulitzkin, 
combined with entries in the books of Ostrowsky and the other clerks, and with 
utterances of Dr. Thon, Dr. Ruppin, and Mr. Ostrowsky, it was established that 
the persons mentioned were continuing the w^ork of the Bank which the Govern- 
ment; had declared to be a hostile institution and had closed as such. They work 
only in the interest of the Jews. In spite of the prohibition of the Government, 
Dr. Ruppin presides over a Zionist committee, the members of which are enemy 
subjects who have remained in the Turkish Empire. Their whole efforts are 
directed to bringing- Palestine into the hands of the Jews through the realisation 
of their plans. They use and circulate special stamps for the Jews, and thereby 
cause great loss to the State treasury. In order to carry out their political 
designs, they work hand in hand with the Zionists of America, who are doing 
all they can for the idea of a Jewish State, and lay out thousands of pounds for 
the thirty thousand Jews who live in Jaffa and the neighbourhood. The leader 
and moving- spirit in this work is Dr. Arthur Ruppin. The above-mentioned 
Bank is an example of the activities which he carries on in opposition to the 
Government. We are awaiting- instructions to stop the continuance of a move- 
ment which must excite the displeasure of the Government, as those who 
participate in it take no heed at all of the Government. 23.11.1331. Chaled." 

This trial would have been followed by another had not the Governor of 
Jerusalem interfered and cut it short while it was still in the preliminary stage. 


He was ag^ainst the proceeding's being continued, as they could bring no honour 
to Turkey. 

The Thai Triai: At the beginning of 191 6, Mr. Thai, an employee of the 
A. P. C. and a Dutch subject, received some books, such as Herzl'si and Nordau's 
writings, from the Juedischer Verlag- in Berlin. The censor of the Post Office 
in Jaffa notified the State Attorney of the arrival of the books, and the latter 
considered the order sufficient reason for instituting legal proceedings. The 
examination was carried on with the usual mehods, such as blows and tortures, 
which often caused the accused to faint. Mr. Thai was three months in prison, 
and twice he was on the point of being condemned to death as an agitator on 
account of the receipt of books of Zionist character. Only through energetic 
representations being made in Constantinople was the sentence quashed and the 
accused set at liberty. 

Trial of the American Relief Committee : In February, proceedings were 
instituted against the members of the American Relief Committee because it had 
ventured to receive money from abroad in order to relieve the distress in Pales- 
tine. At the same time the branch of the Palestine Office in Jerusalem, where money 
was paid out against the cheques of the Provisional Committee in America, was 
closed. As a result of strenuous efforts made on the sp>ot, and on a hint being 
received from Constantinople, the court contented itself with inflicting fines on the 
members of the American Committee. The Committee was dissolved, and its 
chairman, Mr. David Yellin, sent with his family to Damascus. 

Dr. Thon was also condemned to leave the country, as being responsible for 
the activity of the Palestine Office. He was first summoned to appear before 
Jemal Pasha at Damascus. The latter, after a conversation with him, withdrew 
his expulsion order, and gave instructions that from now on all payments shouJd 
be made under supervision of a committee to be appointed by the Governor of 
Jerusalem. There was no trial in which Jemal did not seek to involve the Pales- 
tine Office, which consequently was always in trouble. It was clear to Jemal 
Pasha and his subordinates that the Palestine Office was the centre of all Zionist 
activity in Palestine. All the more annoying was it to them that they could not 
fix any definite charg-e on it, as its head, Dr. A. Ruppin, was a German subject. 
In their most arbitrary proceedings, the domiciliary search of Tel Aviv, the arrest 
of Zionist leaders, etc., they had to leave the Palestine Office unmolested. As he 
could not touch it directly, Jemal Pasha sought to obtain his end by indirect 
means. Through the mouths of well-known Jews, especially Antebi, he gave it 
frequently to be understood that he could not allow Ruppin, as a foreign subject, 
to stand at the head of the Zionist work. He must, therefore, either give up his 
post or adopt Turkish nationality. He did not venture to speak to Ruppin himself 
for fear of the German ambassador. But he allowed it to be clearly discerned 
that he would take his revenge on Zionist and Jewish institutions if Ruppin 
remained longer at his post. This led the latter to promise him in the course of 
a conversation in September, 191 5, that he would withdraw from Zionist work. 
Jemal Pasha was anxious that Dr. Thon should take over the work and become 


a Turkish subject. It was arranged that the work should have a purely economic 
and not a political character. Ruppin remained another year in Jerusalem, and 
was able to continue his studies on the economic conditions of Syria and Pales- 
tine. This seemed for a time to pacify Jemal. In reality, however, he was not 
satisfied, and a year later, in September, 1916, Ruppin had to g-ive way to him, 
and leave Palestine. He went to Constantinople, where his activities, both political 
and economic, were invaluable in keeping- the Zionist work in Palestine going. 
The direction of the Palestine Office remained up to the end of the war and the 
amalgamation of the Office with the Zionist Commission in the hands of Dr. 

(4) Ottoman Naturalisation. 

On Turkey's entry into the war, an order was issued that all male subjects 
of enemy countries should be sent into the interior. Women and children were 
to be permitted to remain where they were. .As regards the Jews, through the 
influence of the American and the German consuls, certain concessions were 
secured by virtue of which the men received permission to naturalise themselves 
and remain in the country. Whoerver refused to become an Ottoman subject 
was to leave the country. 

Even before the war several Zionists had endeavoured to become Ottoman 
subjects. This, however, was a matter of great difficulty, as the consuls opposed 
any efforts of the subjects of their respective countries to shake off their allegiance. 
The Russian consul was particularly active in persecuting those persons who 
tried to become Ottomans, spying on their correspondence, holding back the 
remittances of money sent to them and so forth. 

When the Jews of Palestine were officially given permission to became 
Ottoman subjects and remain in the country, a large section of Zionists saw in 
this the salvation of the Yishub. The men were, prepared to let themselves be 
enrolled in the army if necessary, only so as not to have to leave the country. 
But, as was usual with governmental orders in Turkey, this rescript also came 
from Constantinople without proper explanations, so that roomi was left to the 
officials to interpret it as they wished, and to proceed arbitrarily in carrying 
it out. The line adopted in conferring the naturalisation varied according to 
the character and inclination of the officials. In some places concessions w^ere 
granted, in others, obstacles were raised. It was only after ref>eated telegrams 
had been sent to the Chacham Bashi in Constantinople that in November, 1914, 
the Kaimakam in Jaffa issued instructions to the Chacham Bashi m Jaffa regarding 
the establishment of a registry to deal with naturalisation. People came in 
crowds to apply at this office, but the difficulties in obtaining naturalisation were 
still very great. The staff of officials and secretaries was quite inadequate to 
cope with the rush, and the direction of the work was entrusted to a young 
man without experience. The thing dragged on for months; people were sent 
from one office to another, and the inhabitants of the colonies had to come to 


Jaffa five or six times during- the p>eriod. It was only when the Jews managed 
to g-et the business into their own hands that the naturalisation was at last 
effected smoothly. 

Exceptional difficulties attended the naturalisation of the women and children 
who were living- in the country without their husbands, fathers, or guardians. 
Hie Jewish community maintained that it was imix>ssible to naturalise women and 
children without the consent of the head of the family, but the Turkish officials 
would not listen to them, and insisted that even small children should become 
naturalised or leave the country. People in charge of children whose parents 
were away were in a quandary. To send them by ship, to Egypt and there let 
them shift for themselves was out of the question. It was also a serious step 
tO' naturalise themi without the knowledge of their parents. Accordingly the teachers 
and committees of the various schools in which such children were being brought 
up decided to deal with them as if they were their own children, and thus saved 
many of them for' their parents and relatives. The children of the variousi schools 
were naturalised eii masse under the auspices of the heads of the educational 
institutions (Hebrew Gymnasium in Jaffa, Teachers' Seminary in Jerusalem, etc.). 

Naturalisation Fees : The payment of naturalisation fees caused serious 
difficulties. At first, just when money was most scarce, the fee demanded was 
37^ francs, a sum with which a middle-class family in normal times and a poor 
family at that time could have lived for a whole month. At this rate, a family 
of five souls would have to- pay 185 francs, which would have been an impossibility 
for most people at this time. It wasi calculated that there would! be 20,000 candi- 
dates for naturalisation, requiring^ a sum of boo, 000 francs for feeis. Of this 
sum, only a quarter could be looked for from the applicants themselves, the rest 
w ould have to be pro\ided from public funds, which was quite impossible. Great 
efforts were made in Constantinople to get the fee reduced, and these were iso 
far successful that it was made payable not for each individual but for each 
family, while the very poor were exempted from it altogether; in their case, how- 
ever, large sums had to. be disbursed for stamps. The Palestine Office alone 
expended about 50,000 francs in this work. This was provided from varioiis sources 
chiefly from the American Fund, which was used for this purpose with the 
consent of the American ambassador, Mr. Morgenthau. The number naturalised 
amounted in Jerusalem to about five thousand persons; in Jaffa and the neigh- 
bourhood to five thousand; and in Samaria and Galilee to about two thousand; 
apart from those ^\•ho were naturalised throug-h the Jewish institutions. 

(5) Military Service. 

The most serious consequence of accepting Ottoman citizenship was the 
obligation of military service which it involved. Before the Young- Turk Revolu- 
tion, the duty of service under arms was on religious grounds confined to 
^Mohammedans, while non-Mohammedans had tO' pay a military tax. The new 


reg-ime introduced universal military service without distinction of creed. When 
Turkey entered the war, Jews as well as Christians were held liable to active 
service under armis. A difference, however, was made between Mohammedans 
and the adherents of other religions as follows : — 

(a) Jews and Christians of the same age classes as those in which Mohamm.- 
dans were liable to active service could obtain exemption through payment of a 

[b) Jews and Christians, with the exceptiom of those who had to serve only 
a short period (like the one-year volunteer service m European States), were for the 
most part not placed on active service but assigned to various labour battalioms. 
The members of these battalions were the pariahs of the army ; their clothing , 
feeding" and g^eneral equipment was abominable, and they were treated worse than 
slaves. The Jew w^culd sell his last stick in order to scrape togfether enoug^h monkey 
to ransoim himi from the slavery of this battalion. But there were still many who 
could not raise sufficient, and who had to serve in the labour battalions; and these 
had to leave their families behind entirely unprovided for. The government, it is 
true, had assigned separation allowances to families of soldiers, buit most of this 
money remained in the hands of the officials. 

A large part of the Jews in the workers' battalions never returned. They 
fell victims to epidemics and starvation. A large part of the families of these 
soldiers also perished from poverty and sickness. Those Jews who had become 
naturalised before the order came from Constantinople had been allowed to post- 
pone taking up military service for one year from their naturalisation by an express 
stipulation made at the time. In spite of this, however, thev were called to the 
colours before the expiration of a full vear. 

The pupils of the Hebrew (gymnasium in Jaffa and of the Teachers' Seminarv 
in Jerusalem, who under the existing- regfulations were privileged to attend the 
military school in Constantinople in order to be trained there for officers, were the 
first to answer the call to military service. These young- people suffered great hard- 
ships under the command of Turkish officers ; nevertheless most of them by great 
determination overcame all obstacles and distinguished themselves in the war. 
In many cases exemption from military service could be obtained not by payment 
of ransom, but by taking" shares in certain financial undertakings of the military 
administration. For this purpose large sums were sometimes required which had 
to be paid in monthly instalments, and many people were in this way reduced to 
p>overty. Later on, instead of money payment a certain quantity of corn was 
demanded. This method of securing exemption cost from ^^150 to £200. Only a 
few could afford so much ; most sought to escape the labour battalions by taking 
shares in the undertakings of the military administration. Naturally desertion 
was rife in Syria and Palestine. 

The treatment of the Jews on military service became most humiliating in the 
fourth year of the war. On receipt of a secret order of March 191 8, the war 
minister in Constantinople collected all Jewish soldiers and officers, and sent them 


into the interior of Anatolia, where they were handed over to the command of the 
3rd Army Corps. In this way the supreme Turkish Army Command desired 
to show its mistrust of the Jews, as it had on other occasions shown its mistrust 
of other subject peoples. This order affected not only the young f>eople who from 
a feeling- of duty had saddled themselves with the Turkish yoke, but also high 
officers who had already volunteered to serve in the Balkan war. It applied not 
only to Palestinian Jews and new Ottoman subjects who were suspect as Zionists, 
but also to Jews from other Turkish districts whose parents were Ottomans before 
them, and whose patriotism the Turks had always been ready to acknowledge. 



(i) Preservation of the Yishub. 

Co-operation of Zionist bodies: In this war i>eriod, when any expansion of 
the Yishub was not to be thought of, all energies had to be concentrated om the 
task of conserving- as far as possible the moral influence and material p>osition 
which had already been won. For this purpose it was essential that the Zionist 
Organisation should preserve an attitude of strict neutrality. Realisation of this 
fact led to the most harmonious co-operation between the principal offices of the 
Zionist Organisation and the Central Office in Berlin, the Zionist Agency in Con- 
stantinople and the Palestine Office in Jaffa, while the Bureau in Copenhagen and 
the newly-formed Prcwisional Executive Committee of General Zionist Affairs in 
New York also joined in. This co-operation made it possible to keep the whole 
Jewish public fully informed, during the period of the blockade and of the Turkish 
military censorship, of every movement of Jewish life in Palestine. In this way 
opportunity was given to appeal for help from abroad on every occasion of serious 
political or economic danger. Only through the protection thus afforded by the 
Zionist Organisation can the fact be explained that the war period left the Yishub 
in Palestine practically intact. The part played by the Palestine Office in bringing 
this about may be described as follows. 

Injormation Service: The first task of the Palestine Office was to take steps 
for keeping the outer world well informed of affairs in Palestine, and for securing 
protection and help in the country itself. It was essential that the news sent from 
Palestine should be prompt and correct, and should above all avoid exaggeration, 
in order not lose the reputation of reliability. 

It was further of importance to' the Jews tO' be on a proper footing with the 
authorities in the country, and not to appeal for protection against them; before 
absolutely every hope of obtaining satisfaction in the country itself had failed. The 
Palestine Office did its best to remain loyal to the Turkish Government, and to 
confirm the Yishub in this sentiment, sometimes in the teeth of the greatest 

Dealings with Representatives of Governments : The Palestine Office had to 
maintain relations not only with the Turkish military and civil authorities, but also 
with the representatives of foreign countries who were still in Palestine. 

Among the Consular representatives were several who during the whole period 
of their stay in the country showed themselves always ready to help, and performed 
valuable services for the Jewish Yishub. Especially deserving of mention are the 


German vice-consul Schabing-er in Haifa, and the Consul Brrxle, who at the outbreak 
of the war was head of the German Consulate in Jaffa, and subsequently after the 
death of the well-kno\^n consul Schmidt became Genieraj Consul in Jerusalem. The 
Jewish population also benefited by the presence of the head of the German military 
mission, Colonel Kress van) Kressenstein, who om several occasions exerted his 
influence oo behalf of the Jews. Extremely valuable help was given by the 
American consular representatives, especially by the consul in Jerusalem, Mr. 
Glazebrook, who always warmly supported Jewish interests, while consul Hardeg 
was of g-reat assistance in; the forwarding- of the Arherican money remittances. 
Special thanks are due to the Spanish consul, Count von Balobar, whoi supplied 
accommodation to the American Relief Commiittee, and through whoise gaiarantee 
Messrs. Hoofien, Meyuchas and Thoni escaped being- expelled from the countrv. 
The Spanish representative Kuebler in Jaffa and the Austrian Consul Krauss in 
Jerusalem frequently lent their assistance. The German officials in. general 
received during- the war instructions from the Foreign Office iuid irom thei Embassy 
and Military Mission in Constantinople to promote Zionist interests. These 
instructions were on the whole punctually obeyed by all officials, no matter wheth'^r 
as individuals they sympathised or not with Jewish aspirationis. 

In this period the Palestine Office was a tower of strength toi all Jews in 
difficulties, whether in public <r private affairs. In the sphere of finance it plaved 
a most important role. It had not only to maintain all the institutions which it 
had established or which stood in| connection with it, but toi provide support for 
other institutions and persons in need, the number of whom had increased consider- 
ably. On this account and especially through the fact that it had become the head 
office for the American Fund, its sphere; of activity was suddenly extended far 
beyond the confines of the new Yishub. 

Great circumspection was required in order to meet all requirements with the 
means available. Catastrophies followed one another in quick succession — the 
locusts, the naturalisation, the expulsion from Jaffa, the depreciation of the Turkish 
paper money — and it was often a riddle how the means required for parrying these 
disasters were toi bei raised. Although therefore the calls made upon it were great 
enough to drain its resources toi the last penny, yet it was always necessary toi keep 
in the Palestine Office a small reserve fund to meet sudden emergencies A\hen 
assistance could not be obtained quickly enough from abroad. Yet economy could 
not be carried sO' far as to allow institutions or persons depending on the support of 
the Palestine Office to perish. On the whole the Palestine Office performed its task 
successfully. It managed toi preserve the main part of the Yishub through the 
period of war, a feat which was only rendered possible by the devotion with which 
all members of the staff threw themselves intoi their work. 

Improvements in the Yishub: Although progress in colonisation was for the 
time brooight to a standstill, yet it was found possible to make certain necessary 
adaptations and to remedy some long-standing defects. Thus, for example, the 
landworkers w-ere employed continually at the same place, and so were able to 
become attached to their work and to the ground which they tilled. To impro\ e 
the food supply, vegetable gardening and poultry-keeping were introduced, 
branches the need of which had long been felt and which were of great benefit 


to the settlers. The workers' kitchens, which had been badly managed for years, 
were greatly improved. The emergency works were utilised for the carrying 
out of operations w^hich had long been required in the country, e.g., the laying 
down of roads, draining of swamps, amelioration of soil for plantations, etc. 
Aft these things kept the Palestine Office busy ; and it was largely due to its 
untiring activities that the catastrophies of the war exercised a far less devastating 
effect on the Jewish Palestine than had been anticipated. 

The necessity of providing from organisation funds for a number of schools 
which formerly had been supported by private committees led to the creation 
of a single school system embracing all the schools in the country, supported by 
the Zionist Organisation. Thanks largely to this unremitting care for the schools, 
it was found at the end of the war that the knowledge of Hebrew in the country 
had increased considerably in all sections of the Jewish population. In the welfare 
work, which assumed such increased dimensions owing to the war conditions, it 
was always the particular endeavour of the Palestine Office to preserve the inde- 
pendence of the recipients of relief, and on no account to give its work the 
character of almsgiving. The Office therefore avoided as far as possible direct 
dealings with individual applicants for assistance and made them form classes 
and groups whose representatives were accorded a voice in the direction of the 
welfare work. Of particular importance was the organisation of the labourers and 
artisans of the colonies, which was greatly strengthened during the war. By 
learning thus to work together, the various classes came to sink their differences, 
and this contributed much to the preservation of the Yishub in the hour of danger. 

(2) The Economic Catastrophies. 

As if in itself the war was not a sufficient catastrophe, others, due partly to 
natural and partly to human causes, came to aggravate it. Chief of these were 
the plague of locusts and the depreciation of money. 

Tlie Locusts: On Purim, 5678-1917, immense swarms of locusts suddenly 
covered the heavens, and soon after settled on the earth. The population turned 
out with tin vessels and sticks to chase them away. They had, however, already 
fixed themselves on the trees and bushes, and could not be dislodged. The fight 
against them was taken ifp with extraordinary energy, the whole Yishub joining 
in. The schools A\ere closed, so that the children could be sent to the colonies 
and farms. The work was tedious and exhausting. Innumerable locusts creeping 
on the earth were killed, and the eggs which had been laid were dug out of the 
clods. The fight was waged with peculiar intensity against the locusts that had 
just been hatched. Canals were dug and fences were raised in order to bury 
or burn them. This spell of energy was, however, succeeded by one of corres- 
ponding slackness and despondency ; for, after the locusts had been removed from 
,,the Jewish fields, new swarms came from the fields of the Arabs, who, in spite 
of the orders of the Government, had done nothing to combat the plague. The 
Jews in despair saw the plantations on which they had worked for decades ruined 
in a few hours. Luckily, the new generation of locusts did not remain long hi 
the country, and as soon as their wings grew, they flew away from Palestine. 

3 — Palestine. \n 

This was at the end of June. The locusts caused enormous loss in Palestine. 
The vegetable fields were almost stripped bare, while the corn fields lost from 
a quarter to a third of their crops. In the plantations, however, the trees remained 
for the most part uninjured and were not spoilt, as had been feared at first. But 
that year's crop was loist, and those of the succeeding- years suffered a diminution. 

The amount of damage suffered by the Yishub may be estimated from the 
fact that of 6,000 dunams of oranges in Petach Tikvah, only 1,700 remained 
uninjured ; while of the orange groves in the neighbourhood of Jaffa only a few 
were saved, the Montefiore orange grove near the German colony of Sarona and 
the orange grove of Mikveh Israel. 

The total loss may be put in figures, as follows : — 

Damage to winter and summer corn ... ... ... 150,000 

Vegetables and fodder ... 

Orange groves ... 


Almond Groves ... 

Cost of fight against locusts 



Depreciation of the Currency : A further economic catastrophe befel Palestine 
through the depreciation of the currency. Before the war the gold coins in use 
were: The French Napoleon (20 francs), the Turkish pound (23.75 francs), and 
the English pound (25.16 francs). The value of the Turkish metal coins was 
fixed correspondingly. Turkish paper money was scarcely ever seen on the 
market. At the beginning of the war Turkish banknotes began to appear. This 
money was accepted by the public with undisguised reluctance. The inhabitant* 
of the villages refused it altogether. In the first year of the war paper money 
circulated only in limited amount and there was a plethora of gold, the quantity 
of which was augmented especially by the consignments on the American ships. 
The whole of this gold was placed on the market, as it was distributed in small 
sums to private persons or used to assist various institutions and pay the salaries 
of ofTicials and teachers. This gold came for the most part into the hands of 
producers and circulated in large quantities on the market, In contrast to paper 
money, which at first was used in small quantity only, and therefore was at no 
great discount as compared with gold. 

As soon, hoiwiever, as the American ships ceased to appear in the harbours 
of Palestine, the quantity of gold in the country decreased. A similar decrease 
took place in the quantity of the money which had flowed from various sources 
into the hands of the Administration, which now sent it to Constantinople. Instead 
of gold, the market was now flooded with a large quantity of paper money. 

When ships ceased to call from foreign countries, money came from America 
and other countries via Constantinople in the form of bank drafts to the Palestine 
Office, and was paid out in Palestine in banknotes. Through this the value of 


the Turkish banknote begfan to drop from day to day, and the fall was so pro- 
nounced that in November, 191 7, only 7.3 bishlik (3.90 francs) was paid for a 
Turkish pound, of which the nominal value was 22.75 francs (43.2 bishlik). 

The drop in the exchange was accelerated by the shortag-e of small change. 
Even in peace time the position in respect to small change had been unsatisfactory, 
different rates of exchange prevailing in towns quite close to one another, so that 
money-changers and all kinds of speculators were able to make big profits. A* 
the beginning of the war the position was rendered still more acute by the pro- 
hibition of the use of foreign coins, and the Government made matters worse by 
issuing banknotes. The first banknotes were for five pounds; only with great 
diflficulty could single pounds be obtained for them, so that a comparatively high 
price had to be paid for changing, and this depreciated the value of the banknotes. 
At length, after a long interval, the Turkish Government put small bank- 
notes in circulation, but they came too late to be of any use. 

In practice, the order to accept paper money at full value had no validity, and 
was almost universally disregarded, both by private individuals and business 
jnen. This was a new source of income for the officials. It was well known to 
the public that any service could be obtained from an official if he was paid with 
gold instead of paper. 

The currency reached its lowest point in the winter of 191 6-19 17. The Jewish 
consumers were the worst sufferers from this state of affairs. The producers were 
for the most part non-Jews who used no paper money, but sold the products o< 
their work only for gold. They made a further profit by paying their taxes to the 
(jovernment in paper, which they obtained on the market for a low price. 

People who made their living by trade and industry, such as merchants and 
artisans, also demanded coin for their work. The Civil Servants, who received 
their salaries in paper, obtained permission to buy provisions in the Government 
stores. The chief sufferers were the people whose income came from abroad, 
those who were dependent on some institution, and those who lived from thei'' 
bank deposits. These received their whole income in paper money, in expending 
•which they lost considerably, sometimes obtaining only a fifth or sixth of the 
nominal value. A person, for instance, who, in 1917, received from abroad money 
in Turkish bank-notes obtained as the equivalent in bishliks or francs — 

for 100 dollars=2o Turkish pounds 140 bishliks or 75 francs. 
,, 100 marks =4.75 ,, ,, 32.25 ,, ,, 17.25 „ 

,, 100 kronen =2.95 „ ,, 20.65 ,, ,, 14.04 ,, 

At the same! time the prices of all foodstuffs rose, and this brought all institu- 
tions and public bodies into a critical position. They would not have been able 
to survive had not in the meanwhile an opportunity presented itself of bringing in 
money via Constantinople. 

Help from Constantinople : The importation of gold in large quantities from 
Constantinople through the agency of the German and Austrian military gradually 
stabilised the bank-note and prevented its complete depreciation on the market. 
The Palestine institutions were able, thanks to the presence of Dr. Ruppin in 


Constantinople, to import gold, and this saved the schools and other Zionist 
institutions from rum. 

(3) Distress in the Towns. 

Jerusalem and Jaffa: The distress caused by the war assumed its' worst forms 
in Jerusalem. In that city the contrast between the old and the new Yishub is most 
clearly apparent. From the begfinning- of the war the new Yishub in the colonies 
and Jewish settlements braced itself to extraordinary exertions in order to cope 
with the situation, whereas in Jerusaleim the efforts made were only feeble. The 
contrast between Jaffa and Jerusalem in this respect is illuminating-. 

In Jaffa all sections of the population, artisans, merchants, property owners, 
each class within itself and the whole population together, fromi the very first 
moment joined forces to stave off disaster. All were animated by a common desire 
to save themselves by their own efforts and by mutual heilp, and all classes and 
sections worked harmoniously tog-ether. But in Jerusaleim every attempt to 
org-anise public activity came to g-rief through the indifference of the population. 
Even in this hour! of stress its energy was wasted in petty quarrels. Every group 
remained isolated, so that all efforts to alleviate the distress were greatly 

In Jaffa every individual and the whole Jewish public collectively helped to 
take care of the orphans and families in distress. When illnesses broke out a 
systematic sanitary service was immediately instituted. In Jerusalem, on the other 
hand, dozens of children lay starving in the streets without anyone noticing them. 
Typhus and cholera carried off hundreds every vi^eek, and yet no' proper medical 
aid was organised. The number of doctors who offered their services was too 
small to meet the needs of the whole population. Through this lack of organisa- 
tion a considerable portion of the Jerusalem population perished. The number 
of orphans at the time of the capture of Jerusalem by the English Army was 2,700. 

A certain improvement took place in the situation in Jerusalem after the 
evacuation of Jaffa, as some important institutions with their leading men removed 
to Jerusalem. Among them were the administration of the American Relief Fund 
and the Palestine' Oflfice. These, in conjunction with the Jerusalem administration 
of the German-Dutch Kolel, organised systematic relief for the population of 
the town. 

Safed and Tiberias: In Safed conditions were similar to' what they were in 
Jerusalem; if anything, worse. Uneftiployment and poverty were even more rife 
there, and led to a great exodus, especially of the members of the Austrian and 
Hungarian Kolelim. The death-rate here also was appallingly high ; towards 
the end of the war the number of orphans was five hundred. The removal to Safed 
of the persons evacuated from Jaffa with their relief committees brought to this 
town also a more liberal distribution of relief. 

Tiberias profited by its situation in the midst of young productive settlements, 
and through its business relations with these was saved from the distress of the 
other towns of the old Yishub. 



(i) Evacuation of Jaffa. 

From the beginning- of the war Jemal Pasha had been resolved to 
make Palestine Turkish. His intention was to send a large portion of 
the inhabitants of the country into distant Turkish provinces, and to settle Turks 
in their place in Palestine. With this end in view he was always expelling Arabic 
and Jewish families. This was only a preliminary to the mass expulsion which 
ho intended to order at the propitious moment. For the expulsion of the Jews, he 
chose the moment when in March, 191 7, the British were preparing their first 
serious invasion of Palestine. On March 29th, the order was issued that all 
Ottoman inhabitants not of the Moslem religion, and all Jews without distinction 
of nationality, must leave their abodes in Jaffa and the colonies of the Jaffa Ka-za. 
This order was generally interpreted as the prelude to a repetition of the Armenian 

The Consuls of the neutral States and the German and Austrian Consuls 
immediately lodged a protest. This caused Jemal Pasha to alter the form of the 
order in such a way as to- reveal his real intention. According to the revised 
text of the order all inhabitants of Jaffa without distinction of religion and nation- 
ality had to leave the town, and only the agriculturists in the villages and colon-es 
were allowed to remain in their abodes till after the harvest. In regard to the 
main point, Jemal Pasha still remained inflexible. Every attempt to baulk his 
intentions only made him more obstinate. All telegrams, even those of friendly 
consuls to their Governments, were held back by him for some days. 

Although the military situation in Palestine underwent such an alteration 
during these days that there was no longer any strategical ground for the evacua- 
tion of Jaffa, yet the expulsion order still remained in force. Some days were 
allowed to the Jews of Jaffa to make their preparations, after which they would 
have to leave their houses and businesses and go into exile. On the evening before 
Passover the last train left the town. The inhabitants had to carrv out their removal 
from the town at their own expense. Only very few railway carriages were pro- 
vided for conveying the fugitives, so that hundreds of men, w'omen, and children 
had to sit about on the stationi without protection from the weather and without 
food, and to depend on the kindness of the station officials for any small comforts. 

Help from Galilee: One trembles to think what the fate of the exiles would 
have been, had not the settlers of Galilee come to their aid. The Committee which 
had been formed for the purpose of helping those who had been evacuated in 
Galilee placed dozens of railway coaches at the disposal of the Evacuation Com- 
mittees in Jaffa and Petah Tikvah. These travelled day and night without inter- 


ruptioii, and brought the persons evacuated from Jaffa to Galilee. They met with 
a particularly hospitable reception in the new farms. Yet in spite of the fraternal 
welcome which wais accorded them in the Galilean colonies, and in spite of the 
great efforts to help them which were made, particularly at the beginning, by 
the whole Jewish population, their situation became more and more desperate. As 
a consequence of the conditions under which the evacuation had been carried out, 
epidemics broke out which, along with lack of food, caused a serious mortality 
amono- them!. 


Results of the Evacuation: The terrible rise in the cost of food, especially of 
bread, made it impossible for the Relief Committee, in spite of all efforts, to pro- 
cure even a m.inimum of subsistence for the refugees. Through illness, lack of 
housing and lack of food, many of them were doomed to a life of misery. In 
this way the fifth part of the Jews of Jaffa perished. Of those who survived, many 
became beggars. 

Removal of the Palestine Office to Jerusalem : Afteir the evacuation of Jaffa 
the Palestine Office removed its headquarters to Jerusalem, where Dr. Thon and a 
number of his assistants took up their residence. There the Palestine Office con- 
tinued to maintain its relations with the administration and the consulates, and 
from there iti had the best opportuniy of keeping in touch with Constantinople and 
the Zionist officials in other countries. 

Branch in PetaJi Tikvah : The work of the Palestine Office in the neigh- 
bourhood of Jaffa was taken over immediately after the evacuation of that town 
by a branch in Petah Tikvah, of which Bezalel Jaffe, an old and tried friend of the 
Palestine Office, took charge, supported by a number of assistants who removed 
to Petah Tikvah with him. Here, too, was located at first the Central Com- 
mittee for the Evacuated, of which Dizengoff was the head, and in which Bezalel 
Jaffe also took an active interest. Agencies of the Palestine Office, chiefly for 
managing farms and for looking after the workers, were established in Ben 
Schemen (under Mr. Wilkansky), Haifa, Tiberias, and Safed; in the last two 
places they were largely occupied with distributing money from the Relief Fund. 
In Jerusalem itself, the Palestine Oflfice was suspect to the Government, and had 
frequently to transfer its docuimentsi and account books from one place to another 
surreptitiously. In spite of all difficulties, however, the integrity of the organisa- 
tion Avas successfully maintained. 

(2) The Last Persecutions in Judea. 

Trials, for Espionage : In September, 1917, a young man fromi Rishon le Zion 
was arrested on the Egyptian border as he was about tO' cross into Egypt. 
It was disclosed in the examination, which lasted some months, that besides him 
a number of people, including Turkish officials and Jewish and Christian inhabi- 
tants, had made the attempt to transmit information fromi Palestine toi the British 
Army, which the inhabitants of the country regarded as their deliverer. 

38 ' 

This discovery gave Jemal Pasha and his subordinates a good opportunity to 
proceed ag-ainst the whole Yishub. For several weeks the colonies Zichron Jacob, 
Rishon fe Zion, and Petah Tikvah, the colonies of Lower Galilee and the Jewish 
inhabitants, of Haifa and Tiberias were subjected to bitter persecution. Several 
persons were arrested, including- the heads of the colonies, the members of the 
various committees, the heads of the Federation of Jewish Colonies (D. Lubman 
and M. Meirovitz), the leader of the g'uards in Petah Tikvah, Abraham Shapira, 
and members of "Haschomer. " 

Proceedings against those evading Military Service: Along- with these 
arrests and examinations of persons suspected of espionage, Jemal Pasha 
began to proceed with greater harshness against Jews liable to military service. 
Repugnance to service in the Turkish Army was equally strong among all 
sections of the population of Syria and Palestine — Mohammedans, Christians, 
and Jews. In the third year of the war the number of deserters in Syria and Pales- 
tine is said to have reached 100,000. Every Arab village harboured a large num- 
ber of deserters. Most of thoise called td the colours escaped back to their villages 
in a short time. Equally great was the number of deserters in the towns. The 
officials who were charged with the search for deserters turned this activity into 
a new so^urce of income for themselves. The Go\'ernment knew all' that was going 
on, but could not do anything to prevent it. Only against the Jews were energetic 
steps taken. In the last few weeks before the arrival of the English, when Jemal's 
irritability and his fury against the Jews vi-ere at their height, these persecutions 
became particularly sev^ere. Under the pretext of looking for shirkers, attacks 
were made on the colonies, and the people there arrested in crowds. Those arrested 
were tied to one another or to a horse and beaten mercilessly. Jerusalem was 
filled with crowds of prisoners from the colonies, who came from all ends and 
comers of Judea. The streets were empty. Everyone hid in holes and cellars, 
in wells and garrets. For weeks together people did not venture to show them- 
selves in the street. 

(3) Persecutions in Samaria. 

In Samaria the search for spies was placed under the charge of 
the Kaimakami, who had also' learnt his trade in Armenia. One day 
about midnight, he attacked Zichron Jacob with a company of soldiers. The 
Aronson family was tortured in mediaeval fashion. The daughter, Sara Aronson, 
was mercilessly beaten before the eyes of her aged father, and after three days 
of the most terrible agony, found an opportunity of escaping from her tormentors 
by committing suicide. 

In Lower Galilee the military doctor, Hassan Bey, was put in charge of the 
search for firearms. He also conducted it to the accompaniment of cruel tortuies 
of old men and women. Hundreds of voung men were sent to Nazareth, and from 
there to Damascus for a continuance of their examination. 

Only the liberation of Judea and the capture of Jerusalem put an end to these 
persecutions. But before it could take effect somie hundreds of young people were 
sent to Damascus. They had to pass many days in closed railway carriages without 


food aiid water. The dead and those suffering- from infectious diseases remained 
among- the living and healthy. In Damascus a special cemetery, with sixty graves, 
bears witness to the effects of this expulsion. 

Several prominent Jews were sent away along with the heads of the 
Christian communities. Another long list had been drawn up of persons to be 
sent away, but owing to the conquest of the country it was left in abeyance. 

By Chanukah, 191 7, this chapter of sorrows for the Yishub in Judea was 
closed by the British occupation, whereas Samaria and Galilee remained under 
the Turkish yoke about a year longer. 



(i) Damascus as Centre for Palestine. 

With the removal of the chief command of the Syrian army to Damascus, 
this place became more and more important for the administration of Palestine, 
and so for the fate of the Jews of that country. Again and again the representa- 
tives cf the Evacuation Committee, Dizengoff and Kalvarisky, had to wait on 
Jemal Pasha in order to induce him to countermand severities which had been 
threatened by the officials, or to obtain concessions and facilities for the Evacua- 
tion Committee. As time went on a group was formed in Damascus of prominent 
public workers who had been expelled from Palestine and lived in exile in 
Damascus, along with others who occupied posts there in the military or civil 
administration. They found much to do in Damascus. A number of Jews 
involved in the espionage trials had been dragged to Damascus, as also a large 
number of young people charged with evading military service. Numbers of 
Palestine Jews who were supf>osed to be going to Constantinople passed through 
Damascus. All these had to be looked after. 

A special tribute for their devotion, courage and address in carrying on th« 
lelief work is due tO' Ben Jacob, member of the trade union of Deganiah, and 
Herzfeld, member of the Central Committee of Agricultural Workers. Many 
Palestinians who otherwise would have perished in military service, in hospitals, 
or in distant provinces had to thank these young men for their lives. 

After the conquest of Judea by the British, the Relief Committee in Damascus 
had to keep the rest of Palestine in touch with Constantinople. This Committee 
saw to the transmission of money for Galilee and Samaria, which were still 
under Turkish rule, and of Zionist funds and other assistance for those who had 
been evacuated and expelled, for emergency works and schools, and for farms 
and other undertakings run by the Organisation. It also had to supply the 
Zionist Agency in Constantinople with news of conditions in Palestine. 

The Relief Committee under Dizengoff undertook at this time to work for 
the Palestine Office in Galilee. It received devoted help from Joseph Bussel, of 
Deganiah, whose premature death is still deplored, and Glickin, the head of the 
farm Migdal; alsoi from Wilhclm Hecker, Daniel Auster, and Dr. Biram. 
Special thanks are due to the German Consul, Graf von der Schulenberg, who 
defended the interests of the Jews with great energy. Until the final conquest 
of Galilee through the decisive victory of Allenby in September, 1918, Damascus 
remained an important administrative centre of the Palestine Office, with branches 
in Galilee and Haifa, and the expelled Jews found there a protecting hand. 


(2) Palestine Work in Constantinople. 

The political reasons for which the Zionist Actions Committee gave special 
attention during- the war to its agency in Constantinople are; not far tO' seek : 
Constantinople was the seat of the Government, and the place of residence of the 
influential German and American embassies, to which appeal coiuld be made in the 
hour of need. But on the economic side also the work done in Constantinople 
for Palestine was of the utmost importance. 

When Dr. Ruppin, in September, 191 6, had to leave Palestine in obedience 
to the wishes of Jemal Pasha, he removed to Constantinople, where previously 
to his arrival the Zionist Organisation had been represented first by Dr. Jaco'bson 
and then by Mr. Lichtheim. When Mr. Lichtheim left Constantinople, Dr. 
Ruppin remained there as sole Zionist representative. The situation in Palestine 
became more and more threatening, and the difficulties in procuring money, especi- 
ally on account of the constant depreciation of the Turkish currency and the 
severing of diplomatic relations between America and the Central Powers, 
became almost insuperable. To make matters worse, Constantmople was con- 
tinually receiving fresh arrivals from Palestine in the shape of those who' had 
been expelled or prosecuted in the courts or seized for military service or who 
were passing through, and all these had to be looked after by the Zionist Agency. 

Dr. Ruppin succeeded in establishing the most cordial relations with the 
diplomatic representatives and the militarv missions. He found out the quickest 
ways for transmitting money to Palestine, and in spite of all obstacles, the money 
he sent used tO' arrive with great punctuality. 

When the remittances from abroad were no longer able to keep pace with 
the growing depreciation of the Turkish paper money, and fell far behind the 
requirements of the country, Dr. Ruppin, in conjunction with the Central Office 
in Berlin, obtained permission from neutral countries to transmit Zionist funds 
in gold. 

In this way the value of the money sent by the Zionist Organisation was 
increased four- and five-fold. To this fact alone the Hebrew schools, all the 
Zionist institutions, and the larger part of the Yishub, owed their survival at 
a time when the fountain of relief seemed to have run dry. 


B. 1917—1919. 


(i) The Position in Judea. 

The persecution to which the Jewish population of Palestine had been exposed 
during the closing- period of the Turkish regime made them all the more thank- 
ful for the liberation of the country by the British troops. The capture of 
Jerusalem on the first day of Chanukah was hailed with particular delight, and 
was celebrated by all the Jews in the liberated area as a national holiday. The 
rejoicings were greatly heightened by the news of the Balfour Declaration of 
November, 191 7, which reached Palestine while the advance of the English 
was taking place. 

The hopes, however, which were entertained of an immediate alleviation of 
the distress, of free intercourse with England, etc., were doomed to disappointment. 
Weeks and months went by without the arrival of any news from the Zionist 
Executive, or of money or drafts for the Zionist institutions. The improvement 
in the exchange was counterbalanced by the universal rise in prices. The general 
distress was very great. In this crisis the money which the Palestine Office 
had put aside from the drafts in Constantinople proved very useful, being drawn 
on tO' defray the expenditure of the schools and other Zionist institutions, and 
to relieve the most pressing cases of distress. 

(2) Special Committee. 

At this time news came tO' Palestine that a "Special Relief Committee'' had 
been formed in Egypt. The fear that' this Committee, without authorisation from 
the Zionist Executive and withoiut the consent of the population of Palestine, 
might be entrusted by the Occupation Authorities with the administering of the 
money sent for the Jewish Yishub, caused general concern. The representative 
of the American Relief Fund, Mr. Hoofien, obtained permission to travel to 
Eg^'pt, where he had conversations with the members of this Committee. 
Negotiations were continued in Palestine by the representatives of the Special 
Committee, Messrs. Jack Mosseri, Alexander, Pascal, Gluskin, and Judelovitsch, 
and the representatives of the Palestine Office and the recently formed Com- 
mittee for Judea, "Vaad Hazmani" : Dr. Thon, and Messrs. Hoofien, Bezalel 
Jaffe, Meerowitsch, Eisenberg, Sverdlof, and Sprinzak. As a result, an under- 
-standing was arrived at bv which the Palestine Office was recognised as the 
administering centre for the Relief Fund. Only insignificant sums, however, 
were for some time put into circulation, partly with the help of the British 
Occupation Authorities. The situation was not materially changed till the arrival 
of the Zionist Commission. 


(3) Arrivaf of the Zionist Commission. 

On April 4th, Prof. Chaim Weizmann arrived in Jaffa at the head of the 
"Zionist Commission tO' Palestine" (Vaad Hazirim Erez Israel), a body which 
had been invested with special powers by the British Government. After a 
welcome from the representatives of all societies and organisations, a triumphant 
reception was prepared for Dr. Weizmann and the other members of the Com- 
mission (Joseph Cowen, Leon Simon, Dr. Eder, and Prof. Sylvain Levy) along 
with Major Ormsby-Gore, who had been deputed by the British Government 
to accompany the Commission, and Major Rothschild, by the whole Jewish 
population of Tel Aviv. An address of welcome was delivered by the President 
of the Vaad Hazmani and head of the Palestine Office, Dr. Thon, and was 
answered by Dr. Weizmann and Major Ormsby-Gore and Major James Roths- 
child in words which aroused the greatest enthusiasm among the assembled 
multitude. A few days later many thousands of persons assembled to greet the 
Commission on the University site in Jerusalem. 

On Ijar 3rd, 5678, the first meeting was held of the representative body of 
the Jews of Judea, "Vaad Hazmani," in which Dr. Weizmann spoke at length 
on the origin of the Balfour Declaration, and on the powers and intentions of 
the Zionist Commission, and Dr. Thon and Mr. E. Berlin spoike on the situation 
in Palestine. 




(i) Division of Functions. 

The Zionist Coanmission took over all the political work which previously 
the Palestine Office had looked after as representing the Zionist Organisation. 
According- to the programme which had been approved by the Foreign Office, 
the Zionist Commission was to form the connecting link between the Jewish 
population of Palestine and the British authorities in the country. The permanent 
and principal function of the Zionist Commission was to defend the interests of 
the Jewish population both at the headquarters (G. H.O.) of General Allenby 
and with the subsequent administration of the occupied territory (O.E.T.A.), 
and with the local officials and the heads of individual departments. Money from 
the Executive of the Organisation, which hitherto had been sent direct to the 
Palestine Office, was now placed in the hands of the Zionist Commission, and 
this body passed it on to the Palestine Office, the finances of which it controlled. 
The whole internal management of the schools, the agricultural work, the relief 
funds, the information service, and the issue of forms for the collecting of 
statistical material, remained under the charge of the Palestine Office. The 
Central Office, along with Dr. Thon, was transferred back to Jaffa in the spring 
of 1918. A branch was left in Jerusalem under the charge of the Hebrew writer 
Mordecai ben Hillel Hacohen, who' was appointed to this post with the consent 
of the Zionist Commission. 

It was at this period that the schools of the Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden 
were taken over by the representatives of the Zionist Commission. What with 
this and the opening O'f new schools, as well as the taking over of the schools 
in the colonies soon afterwards, the network of the schools under the Zionist 
Comimission was soon extended \ery considerably, and embraced about three- 
quarters of the Jewish school children of the whole country. 

After the British conquest of Judea, preparations were made in the Palestine 
Yishub for a great constructive effort which should realise the prospects held 
out in the Balfour Declaration. This effort was continually deferred, owing to 
the general situation. So long as Galilee remained in Turkish possession, Judea 
was in close proximity to the theatre of war. The fear of a military counter- 
stroke and the general uncertainty were of themselves sufficient to prevent the 
inception of any constructive work on a large scale. After the liberation of 
Galilee and the decisive victory of the Entente Powers, people waited for the 
settlement of the political future of Palestine by the Peace Conference and the 
assignment of the Mandate. The military administration of the country took up 
the standpoint that according to international usage its whole duty in the occu- 


pied district was toi maintain the status quo. The chief obstacle in the way of 
constructive work was the impossibility of buying^ land and bringing- new settlers 
into the country. The Land Registry Office remained closed till October, 1920^ 
and till then there was no legal possibility of acquiring land, as even private 
transactions in immovable property were forbidden by the authorities. Immigra- 
tion was confronted with great difficulties. Only the repatriation of Palestine 
refugees was permitted. Other people received permission to enter Palestine 
only exceptionally and after great trouble. The final settlement of the Mandate 
question was expected in Palestine every month. Meanwhile, a demand was 
raised that plans should be prepared by experts for constructive work in every 
field. This was the cause of the Palestine Office at the beginning of this period 
undergoing a complete internal reorganisation. Hitherto it had been conducted 
by a single head with a number of expert assistants, now it ramified into a 
number of departments with responsible heads, who, under the presidency of 
the head of the Palestine Office, formed a Board. All school affairs were at 
once placed under the charge of Dr. Turof, who was later succeeded by Dr. 
Lurie. The agricultural department was placed in charge of Messrs. Oettinger 
and Wilkansky, who had long been engaged in the Palestine Office; while for 
engineering and scientific questions a separate department was formed under 
Mr. Gregor Wilbuschewitz. 

During the early period of the Zionist Commission's stay, the Palestine 
Office represented the principle of continuity in the work of colonisation. This 
point is important, as the Zionist Commission altered its personnel repeatedly 
in a very brief space of time, and the changes in the views and inclinations of 
its leaders and members gave occasion to frequent modifications and fresh starts 
in its system and policy. Dr. Weizmann and his Secretary, Mr. Sieft (who' remained 
longer than the other members of the Commission, Simon, Cowen, etc.), were 
succeeded by Dr. Eder, with Mr. Jack Mosseri as Secretary; these were soon 
followed by Mr. Levin-Epstein, who later was assisted by Mr. Gluskin; these 
were soon replaced by Dr. H. Friedenwald and Mr. Robert Szold, from America, 
who, again, were followed by Dr. Eder, the reins being finally taken in the 
autumn of 1919 by Mr. Ussishkin. The existence during this period of the Pales- 
tine Office — although its attempts to do positive work were hampered by internal 
and external obstacles such as had never before been experienced — at least pre- 
served the internal work from the utter disorganisation which otherwise womld 
have resulted from the divergent tendencies of the leaders. 

In October, 1918, the Palestine Office was finally amalgamated with the 
Zionist Commission. All departments, with the exception of that for immigra- 
tion, were removed to Jerusalem. The Zionist Commission, with Mr. Ussishkin 
at its head, took the place of the Palestine Office as sole representative of the 
Zionist Organisation in all affairs both internal and external. 



The Palestine Office had always cherished the idea of strengthening the organic 
cohesicxn of Palestine Jewry by mieans of a truly representative council. The 
favourable moment for this seemed to have arrived with the new order introduced 
into the country thromgh its occupation by the English. The Palestine Office 
joined hands with the most active elements in the Yishub, and sought to further 
their efforts in this direction. The demand for a representative assembly was one 
of the first put forward to the Zionist representatives by the leaders of the Pales- 
tine Office, whoi were regarded as the spokesmen of the Yishub. 

The Jewish Communal Representation in Jerusalem. — A few days after 
the entry of the British into Jerusalem, members of various circles 
in that city met together on the invitation of the Palestine Office and 
determined to appoint a Committee for the purjx>se of drawing up rules for the 
election of a Jewish Communal Representative Body, and of making prepara- 
tions for the election, in which the whole Jewish population was tO' participate. 
Dr. Thon and Messrs. Hoofiein and Meyuchas were chosen tO' preside over this 
Committee. The task before the Committee was no easy one — to fight against 
the tradition of the Kolelim, which had been firmly rooted for centuries, to over- 
come the tendency of the community to split into disconnected groups, and to 
arouse the interest of all classes in the creation of a common representative body. 
In the attempt to unify the Jerusalem community, the most persuasive means 
had to be used in order to avoid the arousing of bitter animosities. The repre- 
sentatives of the Vaad Kol Hakolelim demanded the creation of separate com- 
munities, Ashkenazic and non-Ashkenazic, the representatives of which should 
meet from time to time for deliberation on definite matters. This proposal for 
a division intO' Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Gruzian Jews, etc., was rejected, and 
the vast majority of the population was won over toi the idea of a unified repre- 
sentation. Out of some five thousand entitled to vote, over three thousand 
actually took part in the election, and so was formed the "Vaad Hair Liyehudei 
Jerushalaim." A coimmunal council of forty-five members was elected, represent- 
ing, with one small exception, all classes of the old and new Yishub. Only a minority 
of Ashkenazim, mostly from the Hungarian and Austrian Kolelim, held aloof 
and formed an "Ashkenazic Committee" of their own. It is this same group 
which to the present day has opposed every attempt at cohesion and union, and 
which separated from the rest of the community in the elections for the Asefath 
Hanivcharim, and the creatiom of a joint Rabbinate. 


Vaad Hazmani. — Immediately after the liberation of thei Jewish colonies from 
the Turks on December 31st, 1917, a meeting', presided over by Dr. Thon and Mr. 
M. Meirowitz, was held in the Palestine; Office! of representatives of the colonies, of 
the workers, of the town of Jaffa, and the most important public bodies, to 
discuss the convening- of a constituent assembly of Palestine Jews. In this 
meeting- a Provisional Committee (Vaad Hazmani) was chosen to prepare the way 
for the Asefali Meyassedeth. As, contrary to expectation, Galilee remained 
separated from Judea for another nine months, the idea of the constituent assembly 
had tO' bei postponed. Instead, a second preliminary Conference was called tog^ether 
in July, 1918, in which, besides representatives of Jaffa and the colonies, repre- 
sntatives of the new Vaad Hair in Jerusalem also took part. Dr. Weizrpann and 
Major Ormsby-Gore made speeches on the political situation. The Vaad 
Hazmani was re-elected. After the union of Judea with Galilee, a Conference of 
representatives of the whole of Palestine, 104 in number, took place. Even 
the extreme orthodox section of Jerusalem was fairly well represented. At this 
Conference Dr. Weizmann and Mr. Sokolow were chosen to represent the 
Palestine Yishub at the Peace Conference at Versailles, and a special deleg^a- 
tion, consisting^ of Messrs. Yellin, Berlin, Wilkansky, Eisenberg^, and Dizeng-oiff, 
was sent to London to confer with the Executive of the Zionist Organisation 
on the most important political questions. 

Asefath Ha^iivcharim. — Owing- toi internal oppoisitlon, particularly otf the 
orthodox section agfainst the woimen's franchise, and to the; prohibition of the mili- 
tary administration, the constituent assembly was not able to be convened for a 
long- time. Its prog-ramme meantime was considerably cut down. It was to^ be 
merely an "assembly of deputies," "Asefath Nivcharim," the chief task of which 
should be toi elect an officially recog-nised representative assembly. The .Asefath 
Hanivcharim was not actually convened till after Sir Herbert Samuel had taken 
up his office. It was opened on October 7th, 1920. About three hundred 
deputies attended; in the election seventy-one per cent, of the Jews entitled to 
vote had taken part. Sir Herbert vSamuel sent a letter of g-reeting- to the 
assembly. The Asefath Hanivcharim has, after many struggles, effected the 
unification of Palestine Jewry. In the Vaad Leumi, of which Messrs. Ben Zwi, 
Yellin, and Thon are the presidents, the Jewish Yishub has an official repre- 
sentative body. Prior to the Asefath Hanivcharim it had been represented pro- 
visionally by the Vaad Hazmani, at the head of which stood for almost three 
years the director of the Palestine Office, Dr. Thon, and in his absence, his 
deputies, Messrs. Oettinger and Bezalel Jaffe. 

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P^'estine during the war • '921. 

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